Dear Dr Trinh,
Practicing meditation and very interested in Buddhist spirituality for a few years, I now find myself faced with a dilemma: I work in communication and use social networks more and more, time-consuming tools since they explode the borders of space and time. We are now constantly connected, at work and at home, increasingly in demand and therefore always further from ourselves. I see it badly, but decently cannot live in my cave. What is the position of Buddhism on this subject?
Doctor Dinh Hy Trinh: Dear Elodie,
Your question is a big topical question (*). Today we have become increasingly interconnected subjects – especially those working in the field of communication and the media – permanently subjected to multiple signals and stimuli, leaving us no respite during the day. Our attention is more and more disturbed, and can no longer focus on an object beyond eight seconds, that is to say little better than a goldfish in a bowl! The result is a permanent tense state of consciousness, generating stress, fatigue and anxiety, even depression.
However, it is quite the opposite that Buddhism advocates: the “correct concentration” and the “correct attention”, which make it possible to bring calm, serenity, equanimity to the mind.
The only solution for you, I believe, is to try to organize your working time differently, so as to disconnect voluntarily during the day at regular intervals, and thus train yourself in a well-defined task, in peace , to “fair attention”, which is the basis of Buddhist meditation.
Difficult, but “when you want, you can”. Good luck !
(*) addressed by a recent book by Bruno Patino: The Goldfish Civilization – A Short Treatise on the Attention Market (Grasset, 2019)