Reflections and Recommendations on COVID-19, 5G, & Wireless Radiation

Reflections and Recommendations on COVID-19, 5G, & Wireless Radiation

By Sarah Aminoff, Susan Foster, Kate Kheel
April 14th, 2020

(NB: For the purposes of this statement, 5G includes all iterations of the densification of wireless infrastructure and data transmissions – 4G+, 5GE, and 5G, with and without the addition of millimeter wave frequencies.)

COVID-19 and 5G

As of this date, there is no definitive scientific evidence that COVID-19 is caused by 4G, 5G or other sources of electromagnetic radiation. There is, however, ample evidence that radio-frequency/microwave radiation – aka wireless radiation – from cell towers, cellphones, WiFi, cordless phones, smart appliances, smart homes, smart cities etc. can adversely impact the immune system and overall health. Thus, exposure to electromagnetic radiation is a significant factor to consider when addressing the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as decisions around the buildout of wireless infrastructure vs. safer wired connections.

History of Electromagnetic Radiation and Health

Radiation exposure has been a concern for health researchers and policy makers beginning with radar during WWII. Yet for the most part, the public remains unaware of the growing body of independent science showing adverse health impacts from wireless radiation.

Since the 1980s, the telecommunications industry has purchased partial or majority ownership privileges in major media outlets. Some outlets previously known for their objectivity have been conspicuously silent about harms from wireless radiation, even as government and independent researchers are finding links between wireless radiation and cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, birth defects, learning disabilities, headaches, sleep disturbances, and autoimmune disorders. As a result, the public has, for the most part, accepted our wireless world as a convenient and often intriguing way of life, and/or the inevitable way of the future – “Can’t stop progress”.  And governments’ collective silence has offered a presumption of safety.

For decades, telecom companies have lobbied their governments to pass laws favorable to industry, including some areas where citizens are even denied the right to object to cell tower placement on the basis of health. We can’t help but ask, “Why would industry influence governments to exempt health issues for wireless facilities if radiofrequency radiation (RFR) is safe?”  And we can’t help but notice that 5G infrastructure – a quantum technological leap – is being rolled out around the world at lightning speed before undertaking a single safety study

Has Electromagnetic Radiation Contributed to the Spread of COVID-19?

Wuhan was one of the first five cities in China to fully implement 4G+/5G and was also a viral hotspot. Were those who lived in Wuhan more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to 5G? What about the Lombardy Region of Italy, South Korea, Spain, and New York? Shelter-in-place measures, urban density, air pollution, public transit, and other factors likely impact the spread or containment of COVID-19.  But does 5G contribute above and beyond these factors? Is 5G the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ when added to the many other environmental toxins we are inundated with due to policies that put profit before health and well-being?

There is much research linking wireless radiation with oxidative stress and adverse impacts on immune function (See, 1, 2, 3).  Professor Klaus Buchner, physicist in Germany and Member of European Parliament states, “There is clear scientific evidence that the spreading of viruses is accelerated by electromagnetic radiation.” Key points:

Ronald N. Kostoff, Research Affiliate, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, explains in his recent monograph that radio-frequency radiation typically acts in combination, one increasing the impacts of the other rendering the immune system “…unable to counteract exposure to viruses as nature intended.”

Kostoff goes on to say in the same monograph: “This gets to the link between wireless radiation exposure and the latest coronavirus pandemic. Wireless radiation adversely affects the immune system…, and a weakened immune system increases the chances that exposure to the coronavirus (or any virus) will translate into symptoms/disease.”

In addition, there are other serious health effects from radio-frequency microwave radiation. A 10-year $30 million dollar study from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) funded by the U.S. government, and research from the Ramazzini Institute showed clear evidence of cancer and adverse impacts to the brain and heart from previous generations of wireless.

The Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) which provides scientific advice to the European Commission regarding public health, issued a statement identifying 5G impact as “high,” and that “the lack of clear evidence…of exposure guidelines to 5G technology leaves open the possibility of unintended biological consequences.”

At a time when the entire world is struggling with a pandemic, is it wise to roll out 5G?  After all, an entirely new generation of wireless technology with many novel and untested features such as higher frequencies, cellphone antennas next to homes, schools, businesses, public buildings and places of worship, phased array antennas, and Massive Input Massive Output (MIMO), is a dramatic technological leap without a single safety test.

Recommendations to Governments

We urge governments to enact a moratorium on 5G and strongly push back against the race to build out further wireless infrastructure both on land and in space. We oppose the implementation of disaster capitalism, (aka disaster profiteering) as it is now playing out with stealth and overt deployment of wireless infrastructure during this time of crisis. Governments owe it to the public to provide evidence of safety by scientists independent of industry before blanketing the Earth and sky with yet another layer of electromagnetic radiation. Telemedicine, online education, or other services would be far better addressed through safer, wired connections.

Based on the overwhelming body of science from international military/government reports as well as from independent science showing harm from electromagnetic radiation, we urge governments to halt the build-out and activation of all 5G infrastructure, both on Earth and in space, and to respond to a need for more broadband access with safer, faster, more reliable and resilient wired connections.

Recommendations Regarding Exposure to Wireless Radiation

With millions of children now home from school streaming hours of lessons daily and only able to connect with friends virtually, we recommend reducing exposure to all sources of wireless radiation as much as possible. This would include favoring hard-wired internet connections over WiFi, keeping devices on airplane mode when not in use, and using hardwired phone connections whenever possible, rather than relying solely on cell phones. For more information on how to use technology safely, please see Environmental Health Trust 10 Steps To Safer Technology At Home: How To Reduce Exposure To Wireless Radiation,  Children’s Health Defense How to Make Remote Learning Safe for Your Children During COVID-19 Quarantine, and share this flyer, courtesy of Americans for Responsible Technology.

Children and Screen-time

Home from school, the default mode could become screen-time only. Families and caretakers might consider taking advantage of these value-fillable days to rekindle children’s ability to play, imagine, day-dream, romp in the dirt, explore nature, and above all, spend quality time with family. Likely, screen-time cravings will fall away quite naturally when children are gifted the nurturing they truly want and need.

May this global wake-up call help move us toward a future where respect for life takes precedence over corporate self-gain, and where technology has undergone scrutiny to ensure the health and well-being of all life on the planet.

Additional References and Resources

1) Miller, A. B., Sears, M., Morgan L. Davis, D., Hardell, L. et al. (2019). Risks to health and well-being from radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices. Frontiers in public health, 7, 223.
2) Szmigielski, S. (2013). Reaction of the immune system to low-level RF/MW exposures. Science of the total environment, 454, 393-400.
3) Johansson, O. (2009). Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields—A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment. Pathophysiology, 16(2-3), 157-177.
4) Grigoryev, Y. (2012). Evidence for effects on the immune system supplement. Immune system and EMF RF. BioInitiative Working Group, Section 8. Bioinitiative Report WHO 2012, 1-24.
5) Ookla 5G Map  (2020). Retrieved from https://www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map
6) Maps of 4G+/5G coverage around the world as of March 30, 2020, (NB: 5G varies from country to country and carrier to carrier.)
Italy (2020): https://www.nperf.com/en/map/ES/-/168912.Vodafone-Movil/signal/.
New York City, USA (Sprint coverage):
https://www.nperf.com/en/map/US/5128581.New-York-City/5570.Sprint/signal/
Wuhan, China: *Although China Telecom was in Wuhan, there is currently no data.https://www.nperf.com/en/map/CN/1791247.Wuhan/4747.China-Telecom/signal/
Vodafone Movil 3G / 4G / 5G coverage map, Spain
Madrid, Spain: https://www.nperf.com/en/map/ES/3117735.Madrid/168912.Vodafone-Movil/signal/.
Seoul, South Korea: https://www.nperf.com/en/map/KR/1835848.Seoul/11921.U/signal/
7) Kostoff, R. N. (2020). The Largest Unethical Medical Experiment in Human History.
8) Kostoff, R. N. (2019). Adverse Effects of Wireless Radiation.
9) Russell, C. L. (2018). 5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental research, 165, 484-495.
10) Blank, M., Havas, M., Kelley, E., Lai, H., & Moskowitz, J. (2015). International appeal: scientists call for protection from non-ionizing electromagnetic field exposure. Eur. J. Oncol, 20(3/4), 180-182.
11)  Havas, M., (2020, March 22) “Corona Virus and 5G Is there a Connection?” Magdahavas
12) International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC/WHO (2011, May 31), IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans [Press release].   Retrieved from https://goo.gl/BrkpG8
13) Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks, SCHEER. (2018, December 20) SCHEER Statement on Emerging Issues (2018), Luxembourg: European Commission; p 14
14)  Dunckley, V. L. (2015). Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time. New world library.

 

 

 

 

How SafeG can help stop harmful 5G wireless

How SafeG can help stop harmful 5G wireless

by Kate Kheel
July 10th, 2019

Heroic resistance is spreading across the world to stop the deployment of dangerous 5G wireless technology and calling instead for safe, wired connections to all homes and businesses. 5G threatens to shower people in its path with intense, harmful wireless radiation 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no way to turn it off.

My colleagues and I at SafeG Alliance believe that the concept we call SafeG™, a safe alternative to harmful 5G wireless, could help that resistance succeed. We believe people united by a common vision referred to by a common name possess a powerful tool. SafeG can be the name for a vision that opposes harmful 5G wireless and seeks a safe alternative. We believe that by announcing what we are FOR in addition to what we are against, we can create a new conversation that will unite people opposing 5G worldwide and give us a common way to refer to a sane and safe alternative.

So, what exactly is SafeG?

SafeG is not a single product or service, but a framework for an internet and telecommunications system that respects our health, our privacy, our security and our right to choose what is best for ourselves and our communities. Here’s how we define SafeG:

SafeG means safe, fast, reliable, secure internet and telecommunications services brought into our homes and businesses by wired technology. It means technology that safeguards our health, privacy and security and that evolves over time with the goal of reducing exposure to harmful wireless radiation.

We at SafeG Alliance respect the right of homeowners and businesses to decide for themselves whether to have wired or wireless networks on their premises without forcing that choice on others as is the case with 5G antennas outside our homes. While we strongly advise using wired networks in homes and businesses, for those who, after being informed of the harms of wireless, still choose wireless networks, we recommend the use of router cages or “socks” that reduce the wireless signal to what is needed to serve the premises only, thereby protecting neighbors from the radiation.

We believe SafeG has the possibility of changing the discussions we are having with our elected representatives, zoning and planning boards, public utility commissions, federal agencies, school officials, schoolteachers, neighbors, friends, family and co-workers.

The wireless industry wants to deploy 5G wireless everywhere (except, thankfully, not in rural areas as it’s not profitable enough for the industry). That would make 5G one of the most pervasive public health threats ever ─ possibly more dangerous than cigarettes, leaded gasoline and asbestos combined.

If we as a world community allow the 5G Trojan Horse to enter our cities, we will be condemning ourselves to a future of ever escalating exposure to harmful wireless radiation that will accompany 5G and beyond. Not to mention the harms of raising our children in a world of screens, machines, and robots, loss of privacy, devastating cyber security risks, and adverse effects on wildlife all of which will be unleashed with the move to 5G. And, the wired alternatives that could have served us well and safely would wither into unavailability. 

As awareness grows about this threat, opponents of 5G are facing criticism that they are standing in the way of inevitable and beneficial progress. SafeG counters this criticism because it recognizes that consumers will drive innovation through demand for safe, wired technologies – innovation that will make our internet and telecommunications services safer, more reliable, secure, faster, and far more energy-efficient. That demand will incentivize manufacturers and service providers to create ever more innovative wired services and devices for homes, shops, businesses, and even public spaces. And what’s more, SafeG encourages moderation, as wired technology cannot follow us around 24/7 as do wireless mobile devices which quite literally have taken over our lives. 

SafeG means internet and telecommunications technology that respects our health, privacy and security while delivering benefits from evolving technology. If we ask for this outcome by name – that is, by the name SafeG – we may be more likely to fashion a world where our children, future generations, and all life can thrive…. A better world for us All.

Kate Kheel is program director for SafeG Alliance. To find out how you can help spread the SafeG idea, visit the website at https://safeg.net.

2020 vision: how to fuel your future

2020 vision: how to fuel your future

With the increasing irradiation of our planet, many of us have felt anger or frustration towards our governments for failing to protect our health and environment. I certainly have, and if those responsible had been standing in front of me at the time, I’m sure my anger would have fuelled a heated debate. Usually, though, we don’t have a suitable target for our frustration and it can churn around inside us, affecting us far more than those who have triggered it. But we can channel that emotion into something a lot more productive and rewarding.

Emotions generate a lot of energy. They are energy. They transmit their own powerful message out into our world, whether we’re aware of it or not, and they have an impact. We can sense when someone is angry or resentful, even if they say nothing at all to indicate their mood.

With 5G and other wireless technologies proliferating at an alarming rate, we must find creative ways of effecting the rapid change we wish to see in our world—and we can use our emotions to do this. If we really want to win, we must up our game to a higher plane of possibilities. If we want rapid, profound change, we ourselves must change profoundly, right now.

Changing the rules of engagement

We now know—from quantum physics, neuroscience and breakthroughs in cell biology research—that our thoughts, emotions and perceptions can influence our reality. By focusing our thoughts and emotions in a certain way, we can use them to fuel a vision of an ideal future reality …and literally make it happen.

For scientists or anyone who tends to believe only in what they can see, touch and quantify, this might seem like an implausible scenario. Yet the radiation that is causing so much harm is invisible, unquantifiable and, to most of us, intangible. It transmits at particular frequencies …just as our bodies do. The reality is that we can use our own electromagnetic fields and our higher faculties to put an end to the harmful environmental EMFs, despite what our rational minds might think. We have a choice: we can keep focusing on the problem, or we can focus on a positive solution, promoting our conscious evolution—beyond the control of the industry and without its permission. (Sound familiar?)

Let’s turn the tables on the techno-takeover

What we choose now will determine how things unfold in the coming months, so I urge you to explore this approach with an open mind. Remember: we are only in this situation because most of us were taught to defer to a higher authority—in the workplace, in politics and in religion—rather than trusting in our own wisdom and awareness.

We may therefore be tempted to deny the new scientific evidence relating to the transformative power of our minds and emotions—just as our governments are denying the validity of the science on EMFs, even though it is solid and irrefutable. The ‘new science’ is every bit as solid and, with this new knowledge, we can tap into our higher faculties to turn the tables on those who have exploited our deference for far too long. We can consciously choose to evolve beyond what we’ve been programmed to believe.

We lost consciousness and now we’re waking up

Consciousness is becoming a hot topic, for good reason. Quantum physics has shown that consciousness creates our world and that our experience of it affects our reality. There is growing evidence that the universe itself is conscious, with every sub-atomic particle capable of storing and processing information, and of existing in more than one place at the same time.[1] When we consciously observe something, it changes, causing scientists to conclude that our conscious minds could be controlling our world. This is due to the energy of our conscious focus and the fact that we are all connected in the quantum field, always affecting each other and our world. In that field of seamless energy, there is no separation and time is irrelevant. We can tap into this field consciously when we meditate, gaining access to the infinite possibilities in our universe.

“When you add consciousness, you become the driver of the machine.”
—Bruce Lipton, PhD, cell biologist

We urgently need to get back in the driver’s seat and steer things in a healthier direction. Consciousness is the very antithesis of a technology takeover—and the only true antidote to it. Consciously using our thoughts (which are electrical) and our emotions (which are magnetic), we can have a powerful impact on our circumstances, literally ‘making mind matter’.

“How you think and feel influences every atom in your life and therefore every outer condition,” says Dr Joe Dispenza, who has trained in biochemistry and neuroscience. “Through adjusting our energy to align with states of Higher Consciousness, we can easily alter the course of those outer conditions. Elevated emotional states bring elevated results.”

To help you do this, we have created 2020 VISION—a global project that enables you to create a higher vision for 2020, using a simple process to promote a new reality.

Here are a few key things to remember when crafting your vision:

  1. State your vision in the present tense, as if your goal is already a reality.
  2. Declare it with lots of positive feeling, excitement, detail and gleeful anticipation. The more positive emotion you experience around it, the more powerful and effective it will be.
  3. Keep it simple, positive and focused. Avoid using any negative words, such as fear or anger. Use their positive counterparts instead, focusing on what you want rather than on what currently is. Be mindful of where you place your energy and emotions, given their powerful magnetism.
  4. Be grateful for this new reality, consciously experiencing the joy, relief and jubilation of having actually created it.
  5. Feed your vision every day, keeping it alive in your mind. Don’t let yourself fall back into dread, fear or anxiety. If that happens, reach for your vision and read it out loud to yourself, with lots of energy. Stay committed, reminding yourself that you are neurologically and physiologically designed to create and evolve.
  6. See yourself celebrating in 2020!

Think about what you want and create your vision around that. If you want a world with healthy, eco-friendly technologies, see it! Imagine being free to go wherever you wish—to sit in a café chatting with friends, go shopping, travel, sit on a park bench in the sunshine, attend a workshop, meet new people and explore new places, without being exposed to harmful radiation …and see yourself loving it all.

Pre-living and pre-loving your ideal future reality is the most powerful way to make it happen

This doesn’t mean that we just sit day-dreaming or meditating all day and do nothing. Pre-living our ideal future means taking action in keeping with that envisioned reality, allowing it to guide us. We must show intent, we must embody the positive emotions that we envision having in our ideal reality, and we must make choices that promote the realization of that reality. The more we act and feel in alignment with our vision, the more real it becomes. Feeding our vision daily lifts us, shifting our focus and generating a sense of excitement about good things heading our way. The more we embrace it in our current reality, the more it will elevate our mood, inspiring healthier choices and behaviours, and bringing renewed hope, determination and faith in ourselves.

Given how we have been programmed to think, however, we must be mindful of any negative thoughts or people that might throw us off track or tell us this won’t work. Increasingly, scientists and researchers are confirming the validity of our co-creative capacities and the importance of elevating our consciousness. In her book, The Intention Experiment, award-winning journalist Lynne McTaggart has demonstrated the amplified power of holding a collective vision, which heals and elevates everyone involved. Through his ground-breaking work in cell biology, Bruce Lipton has proven that we can change our DNA—and therefore our genetic destiny—by changing our perception of the world.

Industry has been running things for far too long, because we failed to understand our higher powers. Once we recognize this, we realize that it makes no sense to defer to those other ‘powers that be’. Now we decide what we want. We decide where to place our energy and focus. We decide what emotions we feel. We decide what kind of world we want.

If we want to stop the techno-takeover, we must evolve consciously, on our own healthy terms, as the super-humans that we truly are.

Let’s commit to an enlightened vision that really serves and elevates us. What we focus on now will make all the difference in the world.

Olga Sheean is a writer, editor, relationship therapist and empowerment trainer specializing in human dynamics and quantum potential. She is the author of six books, including EMF Off! A call to consciousness in our misguidedly microwaved world. See https://www.emfoff.com/ and https://olgasheean.com/. E-mail: olga@emfoff.com.

[1] See https://bit.ly/2FMzVC6 for a short article by Harley Manson on this issue, and an excellent video featuring Morgan Freeman.

Where is the Love?

Where is the Love?

By Alison Main

“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.”  
Simon & Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence (1964)

It was a hot summer night in 2007. Walking down the sultry streets of downtown Manhattan with my two best girlfriends, en route to dinner and drinks, one of my friends whipped out her iPhone. The very first iPhone. The iPhone that kept her squatting overnight, outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store, along with thousands of other burgeoning futurists. The iPhone that represented both trophy and promise of our digitally interconnected destinies. And it was all hers.

As she drew this obsessively acquired beacon out of her handbag, we “ooooh’d” and “aaaah’d.” We asked for tutorials. We concealed our envy. We requested play time, which she graciously granted. My fingertips danced over the magical glowing screen, delicately activating cartoon-like buttons that drew me out of my physical space and into cyber space. After bouncing from email app to text to web, I reluctantly handed the iPhone back to her. As she basked in her coveted possession, my second friend abruptly halted, looked straight at me, and in a severe tone, directed, “You. Alison. Never get that phone.” 

“But why?” I petulantly inquired. 

“Because you will do nothing else for the rest of your life, except hit: Check mail. Check mail. Check mail.” 

Did I heed her warning? Of course not. Who listens to sage advice when omnipotent ad agencies so clearly teach us how to be “smart?” 

Two years later, bored with my antiquated flip phone, failing in coolness factor while I attended media conferences and launched digital campaigns, I relented and bought my own iPhone. I reasoned with myself… this was solely a professional purchase. I needed to be accessible to my demanding clients. I needed to understand mobile marketing strategy. I needed to check the weather every five seconds (um, wait).

My prophetic friend wasn’t wrong. And not just about me. But as it turns out, she was right about everyone. What she glimpsed within me was the same latent existential anxiety we all carry within ourselves. As we wander through spaces and places, both bustling and quiet…we are all fundamentally afraid to be alone and unloved. And we’ll grasp at anything to pretend we are not.

Now, instead of a moon-shaped night light, we have a Netflix-streaming tablet. Instead of a pink cotton security blanket, we have a mobile device nestled under our pillows. And that’s just the beginning. There’s a reason you can’t stop checking your phone for messages, or scrolling through your Facebook timeline, or posting your pictorial life on Instagram. And it’s more than mere addiction. It’s one emotionally stimulating hit after the next, which breaks down to the following illusion: Someone texted me. Someone “Liked” me. I am loved. I am not alone.  

But, there’s no human love nor authentic connection in a digital ping.

Companies selling Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) products and services utilize some pretty slick psychological marketing strategies, designed to strike at our core vulnerabilities. If you’re “without” in this world, you can be “with” in their make-believe world. Strap on a VR headset, and suddenly, you’re not a socially awkward companionless kid who is teased and mocked in school. Rather, you’re transformed into a medieval knight with a powerful sword, slashing every enemy in your path, about to rescue your beautiful princess. Who would consciously choose to emerge from virtual reality and into reality when those worlds are so starkly different? In the material world, you’re a pariah. In the fake world, you’re king. The problem is, the adoring courtesans aren’t real. And you can’t put a tangible glass slipper on an avatar.

AI promises to give us solutions to problems Silicon Valley cogs have cunningly created. You’re desirous and lonely? Order a sex bot. You’re elderly and childless? Hire a robot caretaker. You’re overworked with a toddler? Employ an automated nanny. But generations before us figured out how to hook up, take care of their parents, and raise their kids, without a team of robots at the helm. What makes us so exponentially overburdened that we cannot do the same?  

People have been addicted to tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sugar, sex, and junk food for decades. But until digital tech and virtual reality, there’s been no other invention in the history of humankind that has so strategically manipulated our base human fear of being alone. From mobile to social to IoT, these technologies and networks trick our brains into thinking we’re connected to each other. When, in actuality, we’re not. 

We’re convinced that texting and emojis are drawing us closer, but we’re forgetting the energetic resonance of our friends’ voices and the comfort of our parents’ smiles. We think virtual gaming is fostering new communities, but our ghost-selves are wandering like holograms through pixelated forests, while our physical bodies are starved for grounding on the earth around a lively campfire. We think Jetsons-like automatons will offer us domestic peace and security, but we’re neglecting the healing power of human touch, and the soulful nourishment of a meal prepared and shared together as a communal unit. And this disconnect is dangerous. Not just physiologically and environmentally. But, culturally, psychologically, and behaviorally. Because, when we take our human hearts and merge them with machines, where does our love go?

I once took myself to a remote cottage in upstate New York for a week. Perhaps the word “cottage” is a bit too generous, as the structure was a tiny converted workman’s shed, with dirt and gravel for flooring, clans of spiders and stink bugs as roommates, and chickens for neighbors. There was no Internet, no computer, no TV, no landline, no people, but strangely, I did have cell reception. And as such, I relegated my mobile use to “emergencies only” (i.e. rabid racoon attack, black bear at my doorstep, rattlesnake in my bed). This required me to keep my phone turned off, hidden from plain sight, lest I trip over a goat while narrating my painful solitude to a friend on iMessage. 

On the first night, after sunset, I peered outside the window into … nothingness. No glow from a neighbor’s porch light, no twinkle from distant street lamps, no flash from passing car headlights. Just pitch-black nothingness outside. And me, alone, inside. 

It was terrifying. I tried to sit with the discomfort, with the fear, and the anxiety. I tried to read a book, but I couldn’t concentrate. I tried to write with pen on paper, but my eloquent words were blocked by my racing thoughts. I began to cry, then weep, then despair. So I turned on my cell phone, and I called a friend for support. She imparted great wisdom during that conversation, but one sentence has remained with me for years since. As I cried inconsolably, she said, “Alison, this is where you meet yourself.” 

And she was right. 

As Shakespeare wrote, “This above all, to thine own self be true.” Which means, do not engage in self-deception. But isn’t that what we’re all doing by living vicariously through our digital identities and cyborg fantasies? For how busy and productive we are, our world is becoming far too silent, save for the buzz of network servers, and the hum of mechanized devices. Between headsets, earbuds, microchips, and VR visors, we are isolating inward, instead of expanding outward. But, I’d rather have a good friend tease me for drinking too much coffee, than have a smart-bot remember which espresso roast I order. I’d rather feel heartbroken from losing a loved one, than never feel love to begin with. And I’d rather appreciate the value of presence than distract myself from the reality of absence. 

I’m not advocating that we all remove ourselves from society and recreate Thoreau’s Walden (although it’s ultimately worth it, if you try). But as we gaze down into an artificial blue light, instead of up into our companion’s eyes, we not only empty our lives of emotive connection, but we empty the love from ourselves. It’s up to each of us to reclaim our beating hearts before we are drowned out by digital silence.