In the “real world,” in nature or in a city, it is easy to know when you are lost. Think of times when you got disoriented and “lost” in the world. How did you know you were lost? What did it feel like? How did you find your way?
A more difficult questions is, How do you know you are lost in life? The difference is that sometimes the familiar in life is a rut that can actually steer you off course. This is even more difficult because we have so many digital tools that distract and direct us.
Is it harder to get lost in the world now that there is less of it? Now that eyes in the sky can follow us wherever we go? Are we losing the skill to find our way by the stars, by the cardinal directions, or by a compass and a map we unfold with our own hands? In the planned world, we come to life with a clock face, with calendar eyes to dictate our days, with daily tasks to pave our path, and a barrage of instant messages and reminders that keep busy our busy minds. We sunset that other life, the one we keep hidden from ourselves, even when the sunrise calls us to something more, when the wind warns us that something has gone awry, when the dark night breaches our shore and we feel the longing to swim in an ocean called love. Now that we rely almost exclusively on a digital universe to guide us, we risk losing the skill of divining, of reading the clues in nature and from our own deeper self that guide us to and on our true path.
I can hear the lost voice in everyday conversation: the sense of something missing in the form of a complaint, the lack of purpose in the leap to a notification, and the persistent doubt in one’s own occupancy on the planet in the nagging desire to be elsewhere. It is not harder to get lost than before the tech revolution and the on-screen life with its constant distractions and demands on our attention. It is actually easier to get lost but harder to know when we are lost. And being lost, or the realization of being lost, is the first crucial step on the journey to our own heartland.
© Nick LeForce
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