Steve and I just finished watching a Netflix drama series whose title is a computer term, “Halt and Catch Fire.” It’s about the beginnings of the PC revolution (80’s into mid 90’s), and is a walk down memory lane for many of us. (Remember things like dot matrix printers, “floppy discs,” and that series of goofy modem sounds when you “dialed out”?) But more importantly, I think the characters and storyline align with what we’re experiencing right now, and point to another guidepost to explore on our Path to Oneness. So as I often say here, “Let me explain” . . .
“Halt and Catch Fire” is defined as “a computer machine code instruction that causes the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to cease meaningful operation, typically requiring a restart [reboot] of the computer.” Gee, does “cease meaningful operation” sound like the national and global chaos we’re experiencing? Governments and previously stable institutions are on shaky ground; ethical norms (and even codified laws) are being smashed right and left; and rampant corruption in governments, institutions, and corporations that has simmered for so long beneath the radar is now erupting into view. So what do we do about it? Well, back to the Netflix series . . .
Netflix describes the series as “Re-creating the dawn of the personal computer era, this digital drama tracks the fates of an industry visionary and his brilliant colleagues.” It’s about the characters’ various tech companies, one after another—always trying to create the next great innovation but getting beat out every time by other companies whose names you’d probably recognize (although most of them no longer exist).
But the show isn’t really about computers. It’s about working on something you’re passionate about, with people who are also passionate about it. It’s about forging a path to the future. And it chronicles “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I believe that all of these are relevant as we attempt to find our way out of the current chaos.
But there’s one critical line spoken by the Steve Jobs-like visionary character that gets to what I think is the most important concept underlying the series (and is the next guidepost on our Path):
“Computers aren’t the thing. They’re the thing that gets us to the thing.”
What the characters (and we) realize after four seasons of episodes (spanning 10+ years of storyline) is that ultimately, what was important wasn’t the exciting technology and frenetic entrepreneurship; rather, it was the various iterations of the relationships—the connections—among the five main characters.
Thus, the “thing” that computers get us to is connection with other people.
“Connection.” What a concept in today’s reality. With COVID, our in-person connection is challenging. I remember back to about seven months ago when “stay-at-home” started for most of us, we did a lot of “connecting” via technology. For me, it was a bit of an adventure to exchange lots of emails, do Zoom and FaceTime calls, and have more frequent voice phone calls with family and friends. Taking a non-tech approach, I also vowed to myself that I would keep in touch by making a bunch of “Thinking of you” handmade cards and sending them to a list of family and friends I developed. (I certainly have enough paper crafting materials and tools!)
But here we are several months later. Virus numbers are higher, deaths are higher, “hotspots” come and go like a Whack-a-Mole game, and “experts” pose dire warnings about numbers in the fall. The still mostly stay-at-home often slides into cabin fever even for an introvert like me. Those emails, Zoom and FaceTime calls have dwindled for me. And I haven’t yet crafted any “Thinking of You” handmade cards to send out. I sometimes feel soul weary of the chaos and suffering, and often feel like I don’t have the energy to reach out. Maybe you feel the same way.
But ironically, I think this is EXACTLY the time, in fact now more than ever, when we need to strengthen our connections. We need to not just read or think about Oneness, we need to LIVE Oneness.
So, re-phrasing “Mission Impossible” into “Mission Possible,” and using the Mission Impossible TV series and movie directive spoken at the end of each assignment recording (before it self destructed): “Your mission, [dear Oneness blog readers], should you choose to accept it” is as follows:
1. Reach out and connect with 2 people this week by phone, email, texting, Zoom, FaceTime, USPS card or handwritten letter, e-card, Walkie-Talkie, ham radio, carrier pigeon, two cans connected by string—whatever works. In fact, have fun varying your modes of communication. Especially connect with people you haven’t spoken to in a long time, or people with whom you need to “clean up” your relationship. But also consider reaching out to somebody you don’t know—expand your circle of connection.
Next week, do the same.
Week after that, do the same.
(You get the picture.)
2. Invite somebody (or several somebodies) to join with you in doing a proactive action in your “domain of interest” to effect some change in that domain. Work “passionately” together in a domain that you’re both/all passionate about. (But respect your invitees’ right to decline your invitation.)
Does this sound like something that might be fun but doesn’t really “make a difference”? On the contrary, doing this can unleash a tsunami of “connection energy”—of Oneness—out there into the Universe. It can exponentially increase the positive energy that can, in turn, counteract the chaos and negative energy (the hatred, intolerance, outrage, fear, violence, etc.).
And you don’t have to be any kind of an “expert” at anything to do this. Although Steve Jobs could hold his own in a technical conversation, he did not have a technical background, never wrote computer code as a software engineer, and never designed anything as a hardware engineer. His gift was an ability to see potential, envision the future, and pull together the technical, business, and creative to do what a lot of his partners, coworkers, and family said he most wanted to do: to leave something behind that changed everything.
Your gift, your contribution to “changing everything” on Humanity’s Path to Oneness is . . . you. Like Steve Jobs, your unique blend of characteristics, abilities, knowledge, interests, experience, and values can contribute to a better Path and future like his tremendous contribution to the “thing that [got] us to the thing”: connection.
I urge you to put your Self into motion. As I often say, “Start somewhere, anywhere. Do something, anything—large or small.” Maybe start by reaching out to other Selves and establishing connection. Who knows what personal growth on your Path (and miracles on Humanity’s Path) will ensue.
Connection joins the other guideposts (forgiveness, trust, and compassion) as scenic vistas to explore on our Path. So reach out and connect with whomever springs to mind, however you can. Let’s “reboot” this reality, and co-create a global New Paradigm.
Loved this essay! Yes connection is definitely a guidepost.
I got my tin can. Do we have string long enough to reach?
Love this one! (Getting my tin can and string ready as we speak! LOL)
“Mark David Gerson is the best friend a writer ever had!” http://www.markdavidgerson.com
I got my tin can. Do you think we can get a string long enough to reach?