Imagine yourself sitting standing in front of a crowd of people. Dressed in one of the nicest outfits you’ve ever worn. Watching the door as the music plays and the woman you love walks down the aisle toward you. Dressed in a beautiful white dress. You think about how it all started.
The truth? This day never happened because you never met. You were staring at the screen on your phone envying the lives of others, as she passed on her merry way. You were so busy wishing your life could be like the apparently perfect life of your so called friends. But truthfully you’ve rarely had real friends because you spend all your time engrossed in (anti-)social media.
Obviously this example is extreme but it very well spells out the problem of disconnectedness that goes along with constant connectedness. Imaging all the potential opportunities we may miss every single day because we won’t put the dang phones down to actually interact with people.
There’s a pretty well known joke out there about how each of us has technology more advanced than what took mankind to the moon in our pockets and we use it to look at pictures of cats. There is some real truth to this. Technology was developed with the intent on making life easier. And I my self believe that it does just that. I would never blame technology for the shortfalls of those who misuse it. Newer and faster phones, computers, and tablets in the hands of a responsible person can turn average productivity into near flawless productivity. Police are more easily able to track criminals thanks to constant connectedness.Greater media, better videos, better music. All these things are possible with new technology. And the potential to keep in touch with people and connect with people is better with developments like texting and facebook and email. So.. What went wrong?
With communication and connectedness being so easy, they’ve become devalued. It no longer takes any work to have some sort of a relationship with anyone so people don’t put in the work. We are content with the bare minimum that what we don’t see is how putting in the bare minimum devalues the relationships. If we want to have a meaningful connectedness with people we must move outside of the walls we construct and put in the real work.
Another problem that we face that makes us more alone is the fact that our attention span has been completely destroyed by our tech driven instant gratification culture. We don’t seem to have the ability to give full attention any more (well more like our “Full attention” is one second less than that of a goldfish). This has such a negative effect on not only our relationships but also our ability to learn and process.
We’ve become dumber. With the rise of constant connectivity our reliance has shifted from our own ability to function to our phone’s ability to function for us. A good example of this would be last night. Amanda called me on her phone because she couldn’t remember my number. That would sound absolutely pathetic to someone from past generations but upon reflection I came to realize I don’t know her phone number either. Both of us have relied on our phones to keep each others’ numbers for the entire length of out relationship.
Now that example may not be so bad. But look around and you’ll see this. Why learn math when I can use a calculator. Why learn science or history when I can look up the answer online. Why educate myself when I can win any debate with a google search that will guarantee me at least one source that will prove the other guy is wrong. We’ve become experts at using our technology but are pathetically under trained at how to pull anything of meaning out of our tech.
The sad thing about it is that we can’t even be human to each other about our stupidity. What use to be a civil argument between people is now an online crap throwing session where everyone presents many non credible sources to support an opinion and often end up devaluing and dehumanizing others in the process.
Sometimes it just becomes necessary to take a step back. Our constant connectedness is not an overall bad thing, but like all good things it has a limit. I believe in real relationships and real friendships. I believe that these things are worth putting the phone down for their sake. I also believe that it’s good for us as humans to disconnect. Some of the best times I’ve ever had were out in the wilderness with good friends away from constant distraction. The cool thing is that as I disconnect more I find that I’m able to clear my head more and more which allows me to accomplish more when I finally do reconnect.