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Cyber Pearl Harbor? Time to pull the plug on your computer


Don’t be an Internet Explorer – Get a (Real) Life

Reach out and touch
 somebody's hand

Make this world a better place.
– A song by Diana Ross

A couple of days ago Leon Panetta, the US defense secretary, spoke about a sophisticated cyber attack on the United States and other countries.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta speaks about the Defense Department’s responsibility in cybersecurity during the Business Executives for National Security meeting in New York, Oct. 11, 2012.

“We defend. We deter. And if called upon, we take decisive action,” the secretary said. “In the past, we have done so through operations on land and at sea, in the skies and in space. In this new century, the United States military must help defend the nation in cyberspace as well.”

This comes after the Iranian nuclear project was delayed because of – what the media says – is an Israeli and American virus called “Flame” that mysteriously damaged the computers in Iran.

It made me realize how computers – just like in the movies – are indeed taking over our lives. Here’s an obvious paradox: computers make it easy for us to connect and communicate in cyberspace, but at the same time they can keep us from connecting and communicating in the real world.

Not only that, but spending too much time online can interfere with daily life and relationships, and, in some ways, make you lose touch with reality. (Do you really think “LOL” and “OMG” are actual words in the English language? Nope.)

And if you think of your computer as the keeper of your secrets, now we know for a fact that your ‘beloved-new-best-friend' can suddenly betray you. A personal computer is not really so “personal.” It is easy prey to all kinds of nasty attacks, at the mercy of viruses that can cripple its system and disseminate your private information.

So what was it about “Flame” that made me so curious? It was supposedly developed by American and Israeli intelligence services, reportedly for cyber-espionage of Iran’s nuclear program. But don’t think that just because you are an innocent “private” person, your personal computer is safe from this virus – it isn’t! Flame is capable of reading your emails, stealing your database, and even record conversations happening near your computer, without your knowledge using BlueTooth technology. You can’t be sure who has access to all your information and knows all your secrets!

(And, just to clear the air – no, I can’t make those viruses disappear. You need a computer tech for that 🙂

I am bringing up this topic for good reasons, and loss of privacy is only one of them. Loss of interaction with the world and people around you is another. If we spend more time online than off, our ability to connect with others on a level that only a living, breathing, thinking, and feeling being can, might slowly become extinct.

What do you think will bring you closer to another person: holding their hand and feeling their touch on your skin, or getting smiley faces, virtual kisses, and “pokes” through email or instant messenger?

Having a relationship with a keyboard is no substitute for a contact with a real person – need I even say that? And the time you spend playing World of Warcraft (the mere name of this game should make you run for the hills), is the time you take away from friends and loved ones.

There was actually a study done a few years ago, which showed that for each minute spent on the Internet, there was a reduction of approximately one-third of a minute spent with family members. It may not sound like much, but if you crunch the numbers you will see that those 20 seconds per minute add up to a chunk of what could be quality time in the presence of another human being.

As a mentalist, I must tell you how important it is to stay away from cyber when possible. Although a friend of mine asked me to write a chapter in my book about ‘FACEBOOK READING' which will help him ‘read' the people on Facebook based on their status or comments (which I AM WORKING ON BY THE WAY! – It should be one very fascinating chapter in my program, and if you haven't signed up for my list – you SHOULD! It's free, and you'll get the most amazing content that will help you touch the secrets of the universe!)
Why is it important to be among “living” people vs. “virtual” ones? Well, another research I read shows that real personal connections, especially the kind that include touching and hugging, are healthy for our mind AND body. Whether it’s a squeeze of the hand, a bear hug, or a massage, touching can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. I believe in it. I know it works. As a mentalist I learned to understand that the interaction between people must use ALL our senses and computers simply ‘dismiss' most of our senses!

No matter how advanced the technology gets, human feelings and needs remain pretty much the same, as this old song says:

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss,
a sigh is still a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

Hey, it’s okay to use the Internet in moderation; after all, how else would you be able to read my posts and learn from me? But (and that’s a big BUT), you should strike a balance between your online time, and your experiences and relationships in the real world.

How can you do that? It’s quite simple, really:

Become consciously aware of people in your life. Have meaningful conversations, touch and hug your loved ones, open your eyes and ears to the environment around you.

Balance out social interactions with your own quiet time, so you can reflect on your day and silently listen to your inner voice.

Spend time outside and connect with nature and the earth in some way – smell the flowers, touch the grass, take invigorating walks and deep, cleansing breaths.

John Denver expressed it perfectly in this song:

Fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean…

You get the drift, don’t you? So NOW you can do two very important things: Add your comment below to share your thoughts about this matter, and then – you can turn off your computer and … come to your “senses!”

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