Lost

by rthieme on April 22, 1996

From dashboards to backpacks, GPS technology is everywhere.

Maps updated with streams of data guide us through traffic jams.

Hikers navigate mazes of trails with ease.

Efficiency and security. That’s how GPS is sold.

But something important is being lost — the ability to get lost.

It isn’t just physical. Lost-and-found symbols have long given meaning to our personal quests.

Lost is a way of saying we’re in transition, between trapezes. Fragmented. Muddled.

Found is the opposite — “getting it together,” being connected. The absence of dissonance we call peace.

What will it mean if this rich vein of archetypal material is all played out?

Our behavior will change. We’ll censor ourselves before others do. We’ll feel exposed, vulnerable. More of our real selves will have to be hidden. Small town checks-and-balances will regulate the global village.

Then our resilient souls will kick in. We will transcend the barbed wire of the wired world.

The earth may be a grid of invisible tripwires, but life in trans-planetary space will redefine our horizons. We’ll create new metaphors for home-coming and being rescued. Our interior landscape — how we experience ourselves as “space” — will be redefined by life in virtual worlds. Human beings need metaphors for wholeness, connection, and peace. Our identity is expressed in community, in connection.

Artists, seers, and prophets will imagine new ways to say what it means to be lost and found.

Originally published in Idees Fortes in Wired, 1996

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