Master Or Be Mastered

Life Design Action: Master or be Mastered

Requires: Stopping, thinking, withdrawing, reclaiming


I keep going through love/hate phases with technology. Does this ever happen to you?

My last major anti-tech period happened in January 2014. It was triggered by the midwives who suggested that Reid was induced early because their scans said he was too small.

Yes – we are talking about the 8.7 lb baby who was born with a  double chin.

This bizarre servitude of the midwives to an institutional cog-network of machinery didn’t rest too well in my bones. And after that, everywhere I looked the robots seemed to have taken over. Communication, relationships and even intelligence … all of it was funnelled through the filter of the screens. It was scary.

I felt that without us knowing it, our race had had morphed into a different dimension. We were no longer earthlings, but cyberlings with online platform consciousness. A species of intergenerational night owls playing global cyber wars via the thumb and the X Box. Children and adults obsessed with checking stats, likes and filling their time and phones with endless pouting “selfies”. It seemed to me that unless life was experienced through the pixelated mirror, then it was somehow unendorsed.


Without value.

In a revolt against the robot evolution of humankind I removed myself from Facebook. Then I returned to it (because I felt disconnected and I realised that I no longer have a phone book with people’s numbers written in scrawl and coffee stains on the X, Y, Z pages).


On March 31st – Reid was born and in my endless milking sessions on the sofa, I once again found myself reflecting on technology and how it has changed the world/living rooms we inhabit. Unlike Pix and Roo, in Reid’s world people rarely watch the TV. Instead they are perpetually attached to handheld devises that absorb the focus and mind. In Reid’s world there are no longer stacks of CDs to listen to, or photo albums lined up because all of our images and music are stored in micro version on laptops and phones.

Pix and Reid

In Pix’s world we had videos of Bagpuss …

 In Roo’s world we had DVDs of Bagpuss …

 In Reid’s world we will stream Bagpuss or perhaps watch it on You Tube …

The living rooms that our babies are born into are so different from living rooms eight years ago. In that short time our consciousness has evolved; not from animal to human this time but from human to cyber. And here we all were thinking the next step would be a spiritual one. Ha!


 On Reid’s two-week birthday I was feeding him on the sofa whilst surfing the net with my free hand. I had come across an article that said how 80% of what we find on our supermarket shelves today did not exist 80 years ago. Was just reading it when Ads bustled through the door with several carrier bags from Boots.

“So, babe, I got nappies and I got wipes … And I got baby shampoo and lotion. And I think we need to get some cream for his bum.”

I closed the laptop slowly. Its sort of weird being a third time mum when Ads is a first time Dad. Ads is all lovely and new and in the exploration of daddyhood whilst I am a bit of a maven, with ideas that have become quite set. And one of my very, very, very set ideas is not wanting to use chemical filled lotions and potions on the skin of this little person. Whilst Reid has entered a world of streaming and surfing and selfies and synthetic stodge masquerading as nutrition, there is no way that I was going to bathe him in baths of quaternium-15 or 1,4-dioxane aka Johnsons.

As I chewed my lip, Ads arranged his purchases before me like a proud hunter who has brought a bunch of rabbits and hedge food back for his missus.

I winced with each one that appeared.

Ads noticed the wince.

His shoulders went slumpy.

Then he put his foot down. “Look, I know you don’t want to use this stuff but what about when we’re out and we need to change him? I would feel a lot more comfortable if we had baby wipes and not just cotton wool and water.”

Then I had to put my foot down too. “He’s not having that crappy shit anywhere near him.”

There was a silence, that began as a show down of stubborn opinion … but then gradually softened into a pool of possibility.

“So what are we going to do?”  Ads asked eventually.

“I don’t know.” I paused, then added, “We could try and make some of our own, I guess …”


I shrugged. “I bet there’s some hippy online who has already been there, tried it, tested it and has put the recipe on their website.” I nodded towards the computer. Within two minutes Ads had found a site,  found a list of recipes, not just for wipes but for cream, shampoo and a variety of other baby essentials. Within another two minutes he’d ordered all of the ingredients we needed, from coconut oil to shea butter to marigolds and camomile flowers.

Bethan Christopher

Within two days the stuff had arrived on our doorstep …

The House of Bethan

and within another two days …

The House Of Bethan

our first batch of Reid Cream …

The House Of Bethan

… had been made.

House Of Bethan

And this is the crazy thing about the internet and technology, isn’t it?

We can choose where we position ourselves in relation to it. In the world Reid has been born into we have more choice, more knowledge, more access to information that we have ever had in recorded history. We have gadgets and gizmos that free up our space and our time. We have phones that can photograph, edit and printers that will print your images remotely. We can communicate with people on the other side of the globe and it takes seconds and is free.

Reid has been born into a world where we can be consumers or consumed and the choice is ours.

If we wielded the machines and the tools we have, rather than letting them wield us, we can literally step up OUT of robot/cyber consciousness and step INTO being humans again … conscious humans with the world at our fingertips. Or maybe, in a time when everything seems accelerated beyond comprehension, the next evolutionary step won’t take us another million years to happen.

Maybe it could happen right now.






3 thoughts on “Master Or Be Mastered

  1. I hear you loud and clear. I love having the world at my fingertips but I get so very annoyed when we become cyberlings within Govt or business computer systems. Last week I ,finally, broke through the impenetrable wall of the computer dominated pension system. Someone finally saw sense and stopped trying to make my husband and I fit in with the computer bureaucracy. Someone actually realised we were human beings and we were speaking common sense. That we were right and the computer was wrong. Now, if only I can get the insurance computer system sorted!!!! And I am horrified that similar systems nearly resulted in your little boy being born early and underweight. He was perfectly fine!!!
    And hooray for coconut oil!

    • Grr, that sounds very frustrating Gallivanta. There is nothing worse than when the bloody computer says “NOOOOO” and all of the humans in charge of it bow down in reverence. I read something (online) some time ago about how we forget that sitting behind every screen, every blog, every website and every company are actual human faces. People. The context of the article was reading was encouraging people to get in touch with the person behind the screen to build online relationships because so often we stop at the “cosmetic cyber face” of the real people and instead just see the screen. Its all quite complex isn’t it? Complex and a bit exhausting really. I am glad you are a real person. If that makes sense … xxx

      • Complex indeed. I guess I must belong to the oldie generation because I can’t imagine that there aren’t people behind the screen. It is nice to be real, isn’t it? 🙂

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