This is an excerpt from Empower: How to Co-Create the Future. The full 200+ page book is available by donation!
“A lot of it is simply unlearning. Once we begin to question our thoughts and beliefs, we step into a space of vigilance and awareness”
excerpt from book
David Passiak: You organically built a following of millions of fans and your content has reached hundreds of millions of people. I wanted to interview you for this book because I think you’re a great example of how social media can have a positive social impact and purpose. Yet in some of your videos, like “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?” you talk about how social media keeps us from interacting with others and building meaningful relationships.
We’ve become glued to our smartphone screens and obsessed with status updates, forgetting about the people around us. How do we find balance, and what lessons can we learn from your example in terms of using technology for social good without letting it control us?
Prince EA: You said it: “Without letting it control us.” We must maintain our position and not allow it to dictate our lives and our thoughts. The piece “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?” wasn’t about throwing your cellphone in the Mississippi River or getting a sledgehammer and breaking your new Samsung Android phone. It was about mindfulness. If you had a very romantic dinner with your wife or loved one, then you don’t need a cell phone to distract you. Your mind could be on the future, on the past, a million miles away from the present moment.
Once we can develop a state of mindfulness, a maturity of mindfulness, it doesn’t matter what we do. Anything can distract us. The cell phone is probably the most modern-day distraction that we have—the internet and social media—but we can be present once we cultivate complete mindfulness, which is the best place we can be. It’s the only place we ever are really. We just don’t realize it. Once we’re here, fully present, that’s when we can truly create a great future and reconcile the past.
To get back to your other point, I think social media and the Internet allows our minds to roar and it has certainly done that with me. It also allowed me to spread my messages far and wide, from Portugal to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s very beautiful to connect each other, all of us together, and I love it. But like you said, we cannot allow it to control us and dictate our thoughts and behaviors. We must maintain a state of awareness and mindfulness and I think everything will be all right.