I’ve been MIA for a bit, as many of you know. I try to “play the game” and use the social media to “grow my business,” or to “help people find me,” but truth be told, I despise our methods of “connecting” as they exist in our modern world. I hit these walls and just unplug, frustrated at what I perceive as a lack of integrity in how we are living our lives. And yes, that’s my perception and may not be yours, but this is my blog, so I’m sharing mine. 🙂 I see the beauty in what all this technology has to offer, but I also see the devastation it wields and that bothers my soul and my spirit.
I’m old enough to remember land lines, where we had to sit by the phone and just focus on the conversation. Or answering machines that we checked once or twice a day and returned calls then. I remember making plans to see my friends and dedicating time to real time together, instead of the constant texting that replaces so much of that. I can remember going to my computer and only accessing e-mails once a day as there weren’t portable devices like our iPhones and iPads and all the variations on that theme that turn us into Pavlovian dogs salivating as the various ring tones and alerts hit our ears,summoning us to look, touch, read, reply, surf, watch….all for what really? We are missing our own lives spending so much time paying attention to others,or so busy preparing to share our personal moments with so many “friends” that the quality of those life moments is so diluted and one-dimensional that we are robbing ourselves of truly living our lives and having an organic experience of not only others, but of OURSELVES. And isn’t it narcissistic to run around preparing to share our lives for others to view? Doesn’t that take away from our actual experience in the moment if we had it purely, with no one there watching? Wouldn’t it be based in a deeper, more personal experiential quality than the peeping Tom quality I find so prevalent in social sharing?
I was having a conversation with a good girlfriend of mine recently and expressing how differently I experience men these days with all our ADD, obsessive/compulsive technology seducing us constantly to look, touch, feel, peek. It’s like a seductress, really. I haven’t seen HER yet, but I have a feeling it may be a testament to what I’m experiencing in the world. Men (and women, too, I bet men would agree) are preoccupied with their devices. Hmmmmm.. dare I touch that? Maybe later. LOL. Men used to roam the world, the streets, buildings, restaurants, garages, parking lots, you name it, anywhere in our normal travels, looking at and for women. There would be eye contact, a smile, flirting, and maybe a conversation and a phone number. Organic. We would know instantly if there’s chemistry or not. Unlike these dating sites where everyone is tethered to the screen and their inbox, seeing who winked, tickled, poked, WHATEVER them. Then you write back, have a phone chat, meet eventually and maybe there’s a connection. How much time, by the time that moment arrives, have you already spent trying to figure out if there’s a good old-fashioned connection? How many days, hours, weeks? When we have an organic interaction as I just described, we know in a few minutes and it’s a lot more interesting and far less wasteful of our time!!
What is this obsession we have with CONSTANTLY needing to know what’s happening with our “friends,” most of whom we’ve never met, and having to check e-mails as soon as they ding your inbox? And texting, this is perhaps the most out of control obsessive thing we do. Am I saying I’m a paragon of virtue and NEVER do any of this? Hell no! In fact, I’m writing this because I realize that even with my constant awareness of and disdain for this way of life, it still sucks me in, too! I work hard at keeping it at bay, which just goes to show what an addiction it can become. I’ve turned off my alert tones for e-mails and have text tone alerts for important people like my daughter. I stay off FaceBook, except when these blog posts happen, and if I feel I have something really meaningful to say. I only reply to e-mails once a day. The level of stress reduction that act alone has produced is mind-blowing and revelatory.
Imagine if we all had focus, on one thing at a time? Imagine if you could walk down the street and not feel compelled to have your device in your hand, typing on it, talking on it, even listening to music on it. Every time you get an alert, it distracts you from real life and pulls you into a virtual reality, which may be part of your real life on some level; an important e-mail or reply to someone important, but we don’t distinguish for the most part. We just keep looking at it, touching it, playing with it, keeping it close to us. Sounds like a romance doesn’t it? The scary thing is there are a lot of people out there who consider themselves in relationships with people they virtually never see and only connect with via these gadgets. Skypeing isn’t being with your friend or lover. It’s a cheap imitation, and I for one love the real thing. I like to look into the people in my life’s eyes (they are windows to the soul!), to hear them laugh and to see the expressions on their faces. To kiss hello and goodbye, and to HUG! There’s no replacing real life hugs! I like to share a meal, to eat off their plate or have them eat off mine, to share a dish or tapas, and a bottle of wine or whatever we are drinking and to toast to something we care about. I like going to movies together, traveling together, cooking together, and if it’s a romantic relationship, well, clearly, there’s nothing like the real thing! We have access to anything and everything in this virtual world we’ve created –except each other in the flesh and blood and bone.
Back to the concept of focus. Before all this instant gratification and obsession with everyone else’s lives, there was more personal success I believe, due to our ability to concentrate, commit and focus. Being more than a bit of a conspiracy theorist, I believe that the “powers that be” that want to make sure that your power doesn’t become, lest you change the world, they love the idea of all this ADD and addiction to technology. As long as we are distracted by all the vastness of what’s on the internet, we will never be able to concentrate and do something really meaningful with our lives. Or, if we do, it will take so much longer to get around to it because the video of some girl or some guy or some animal doing something really stupid was so compelling that we had to watch it and also the next one that popped up on the page, until hours have gone by and what have you done to move your life in a direction that is meaningful TO YOU? As long as you keep on choosing virtual “entertainment” over commitment to your dreams, your gifts, your vision, you will continue to have an undercurrent of dissatisfaction about your life, a sense of depression or lethargy and confusion about where you’re headed. Entertainment and fun is CRUCIAL in life. It’s just better had in the real world rather than the virtual one, in my humble opinion.
There is no escaping technology and I’m not saying we have to be all or nothing. I am realizing that balance, as in all things, is the key. In trying to live more balanced with the gifts of technology, can you choose to be more present in your real life, to notice the people you interact with, even in an elevator, or standing in line? Can you choose to sit still and not pull your device out to check for anything new in the last 5 minutes since you last checked it? Can you sit outside and listen to life going by and not have your headphones on constantly? Can you take an honest inventory of how much time, hours wise, you spend daily on your devices doing utterly meaningless things? And I would include in utterly meaningless checking your “friends” status updates and cruising their pictures. By “friends” I mean people you don’t know personally. How is that moving your life forward? That’s the one that will rock your world when you find that number.
Another not often spoken about aspect of all this technology overload is the burden it puts on our health. I read a study more than two years ago that spoke about adrenal fatigue being rampant among young people especially, but most Americans in general. Why? because the actual process, neurologically of using your eyes on a screen constantly causes all kinds of biological processes, and one of them is being in a constant state of alertness on these devices causes our bodies to make more adrenaline, and because it’s constant, this causes a form of adrenal fatigue. There’s the literature also about the electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) and what they are doing to our bodies as well, just having these devices close to our bodies. Our nervous systems and brains are on overload via overstimulation through the eyes as never before in our history as human beings. All of this, because we are technology addicts.
Ask yourself as we go into a new year, not to make any resolutions, as most people, myself included, don’t find them truly useful or effectual, but ask yourself what you’re going to commit to this next year. Can you commit to putting down your device and visiting it occasionally throughout your day instead of constantly? Can you examine how your life may have moved forward more if you’d had focus and commitment and attention and intention this past year? And don’t beat yourself up. It serves nothing. Just choose something different as we enter a new year. Choose real life. Choose to pay attention to and be present for your dreams and visions, and allow technology to serve you in that, but don’t be a slave to it. Don’t let it take your soul, your life, the hours in your day, and don’t let it keep you from knowing the joy of experiencing the real world and all the people in it. Even the assholes. 🙂
Happy New Year to each and every one of you and thank you for your support of me and my work. If you feel moved to share my words, please do. I hope they have inspired you in some way, big or small…
Much love and blessings in 2014,