I've found that as a young man, one of the most valuable things I have is a father who understands the modern world enough to know that you can live in it and not be of it. Often, he'll show me this by simply applying the wisdom he's learned to the modern world. That right there has made up for about 40 percent of everything I know (I'd attribute the other 40 percent to my mom, 10 percent to the rest of my family (and some friends) and the last 10 percent to my formal education).
Now there are different types of teachers we encounter in life. Some are teachers who totally disconnect from modernity in order to perfectly preserve an old way. But the most valuable teachers of mine have been those souls who've sacrificed total disconnection and the peace that comes with that, for a dual existence of modernity and tradition. This type of teacher is able to walk with you and relate to you in a way that the disconnected cannot. And because this type of teacher is also a preserver of tradition (perhaps not as strongly as the disconnected masters) he or she is able to create sort of hybrid lessons that communicate wisdom in a most effective manner for younger generations born into modernity from day one.
For example, take this article my pop sent me recently on a book that just came out, called "Wisdom 2.0", about applying ancient wisdom to computer culture in order to manage stress. I imagine the author wouldn't have a book deal unless there are people out there who really would buy a book like this -- committed riders of the wave of modernity who take the complications of modern society and invent more complicated solutions (that they can profit off of, by the way) that more often than not end up creating even more complicated problems, instead of utilizing tried and true methods. Oh yeah, that email:
"Ooooooooommmmmmmmmmm... insert transcendental drone here :0) Think I read sumwhere that they're buildin treatment facilities 2 house all the Facebook, Twitter, Bebo (etc.) addicts az we speak... (err...read) soez perhapz u better start wearin dark shadez n a fake mustache before loggin on..."
He goes on to suggest some real therapy -- coming back home this summer and hitting the lake for some fishing. Then signs the letter:
"Yer ol' theivin -- but honest bout it -- Pa."
Everyone should have a person in their life who REALLY knows them, and helps keep them centered. You can't do it alone. And no matter how much wisdom someone has, if they don't KNOW you individually, their wisdom don't always rub off on you right. Ideally, for a young man, a father, should be like a customized mentor, tweaked precisely to the specifications that you need to help you avoid the bullshit as much as possible and carry out your primary functions in life.
(Reuters) Zen and the art of emailing: [...] The average person sits at a computer for several hours a day and uses e-mail more than 50 times and instant messaging 70 times. And if the person interrupted by email happens to be at work, it will take 16 minutes and 33 seconds on average to get back to what he or she was doing previously, according to the book.
But avoiding technology is not the answer, Gordhamer writes. Instead, he presents ways to regain control of it.
"The trick is to be 'consciously' rather than 'constantly' connected," according to the book.
Gordhamer, who teaches stress-reduction techniques to individuals and groups, suggests that readers incorporate Eastern meditative practices to help ease the frantic anxiety produced by the high-speed techno-culture.
Using many Zen Buddhist and Sufi parables, the book recommends a "middle way" approach for the modern worker, with a range of activities like breathing exercises and five-minute meditations to increase focus and awareness.
There's even a session on insomnia and a quick guide for "mindfulness" emailing, in which readers are advised to sit upright, take deep breaths and slow the pace of communication, or delay sending the message for a day or two.
"Every time we look inward to our level of presence," Gordhamer writes, "we are shifting from the habitual and unconscious to the creative and conscious." (source)