A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one. – Heraclitus
While we’re advancing in our technological abilities and skills, we are regressing in our real, authentic and meaningful connections with one another. We’ve gained in technology and lost in humanism.
Can we embrace both or must one be at the expense of the other?
The scale is tipping in favor of the technology weight, and it’s pulling us down. We must regain that balance and readjust ourselves to a middle ground of incorporating both.
Technology is only soaring further ahead; we’ve got to preserve ourselves and our relationships. It’s only when we become aware of this imbalance can we begin to readjust and make shifts. We’ve all been swept away by this technological tidal wave of the past decade.
I think it’s time to take stock of how we’re running our lives, or how we’ve allowed technology to run our lives. It’s taken on a life of its own.
Enslaved by our gadgets
Just the other day I was in the supermarket when my cell phone rang. I ignored it and the cashier said, “Your phone is ringing.”
I said, “I know but I’m talking to you now.”
Think about that – are we enslaved by our gadgets? Have we become involuntary responders?
On another occasion, I was in the car with my husband and he heard that infamous text signal go off on his phone. He immediately picked it up to start to read it. Maybe I shouldn’t say what I did, but I grabbed the phone away and said,” There is nothing of such urgency that can’t wait until you park.”
We must start to make conscious choices of how and when we engage with our gadgets. They’re there to serve us in the hope of bettering our lives. But right now we seem to be serving them.
Five ways to disconnect from your gadgets
1. Decide not to take your phone into the restaurant. That will bring you back to the good old days of talking face-to-face without distractions. And if you feel like you left a part of you back in the car, then talk about that loss. You will get over it the more you do it.
2. Decide to put your phone in the trunk of your car. That way you can’t reach it in case the temptation is too great, initially. It’s there for the roadside emergency but for nothing else.
3. Decide to unplug for a period of time each week. Maybe it’s during dinnertime or a Sunday afternoon outing. Since I’m a Sabbath observer, I unplug one whole day a week – Saturdays. From Friday at sundown until Saturday sundown, 25 hours later, I am disconnected from everything pluggable. That obviously entails a ton of things. It’s a ‘pure’ day of leisurely meals with family and friends, both Friday night dinner and Saturday lunch, prayers, walks, rest and relaxation minus the ‘stuff.” I guess when the Bible was written, He knew we’d need to decompress from the stresses and ‘hecticness’ of our outer world – A brilliant concept to create this day of rest.
4. Decide that when you are with someone you will not answer the phone – be it to talk or text. The person you’re with at the moment gets your full attention. Attend to your phone when alone. It’s not always doable but it can become a more frequent habit once we start getting ‘reused’ to not multi-connecting.
5. Decide to spend less time with screens and more time actively engaged in living. There was a time I was getting a lot of email links of beautiful photography. It took me a while to realize, ‘Hey, why not go outside and see the flowers, the ocean, the sunsets.’ I’ve always done that but when I realized how much ‘wasted’ time I was spending online; I became more aware of my quality time outside.
Moderation and awareness
It’s all about moderation and awareness of how we choose to spend our time. It’s about actively making decisions in how we want our technology to be a part of our life, not us being a part of this huge advancing technology avalanche.
We humans created this technology and continue to create more and more; let us also make sure we’re creating good, meaningful lives where people are still number one.
And that requires our distraction-free attention.