Monday Morning Greetings 2021 #52 – The Battle for Our Souls

December 27th, 2021

The success of yoga depends on our ability to concentrate or focus our attention on a particular object. Never in history has there been so much competition for that attention. Perhaps the biggest competitor for our attention, and thus our spiritual life, is social media. A short analysis as to why:[1]


A successful business markets a product. How then did Big Tech become one of the most successful commercial enterprises in history overnight if it is for free? The answer is simple: We are the product. Big Tech markets us to advertisers. We are a valuable commodity because advertisers sell certainty in sales, and the extraordinary amount of data Big Tech collects on us ensures them exactly that—the advertisements of whomever learns the sophisticated science of utilizing the vast data of our preferences and proclivities will be, without doubt, successful. Such predictability is obviously a businessman’s dream.


I think we all already basically know this in a cursory way. What I don’t think we understand is the level that they are able to control us. Simply put, we are dealing with behavior changing geniuses who have perfected the science of the gradual and imperceptible change of what we think, what we do, and who we are on behalf of a commercial goal. Perhaps even more frightening is that as they collect more and more data over time, their prediction models on each of us becomes increasingly refined, enabling them to not only control us for commercial purposes but also to inculcate their own non-spiritual values.


There are obvious ramifications in all this for those with a spiritual goal, and certainly for those seeking to develop Vrindavan bhakti. On one side is guru, sādhu, and śāstra trying to mold our attention towards a philosophy and culture of selflessness and devotion, and on the other side stands a business model geared to get as much of our attention as possible by inspiring our ego and greed. Just see their juxtaposition. While the whole purpose of yoga is to quell the frivolous fluctuations of the mind, the insidious purpose behind social media is to exponentially increase them. It is a battle for our soul. May Lord Krishna save us!



“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” —Edward Tufte


“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” — Sophocles



[1]  Much of my analysis comes from the documentary The Social Dilemma http://www.documentaryarea.tv/player.php?title=The%20Social%20Dilemma


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