The most amazing thing happened to me last weekend. I went to my daughter’s first-ever dance recital. And at the beginning, the hosts passionately asked the hundreds of people in the audience to turn off and put away ALL devices—no phones, cameras, videos, iPads.
Imagine: Everyone complied. There were NO digi-distractions. Just dancing!
For me, it was like going to a church that doesn’t exist any more. The church of real experience. Of being here now. Of no rude intrusions by strangers and their tech toys. Of everyone on the same stage—where talented dancers, music, costumes, lighting and more kicked butt over anything your digitalia can do. In a word: Wow!
We are not alone. Lately, media, bloggers, and even healthcare folks are questioning our obsession with these new playthings.
For now, here’s an invitation to peruse some profound stuff and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
NYT’s Tara Parker-Pope asks “Are you hooked on technology?” and tells about netaddiction.com and their research into how the digi-drug gets into your system. Next thing you know, you’re saying “just a minute” whenever someone wants your attention, just for starters.
In another crushing NYT story—this on on the front page on 6/6/10—Matt Richtel digs into “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price.” You’ll learn about how this stuff is rewiring our brains, causing dopamine spurts, and making many “forget things like dinner plans…and focusing on our families.” (sic)
As one subject’s wife puts it:
It seems like he can no longer be fully in the moment.”
On the bright side, this suggests that Mr. Distracted was once capable of being present, which perhaps offers hope that he can get there again…
Meanwhile, the WSJ recently invited two writers to take sides on whether the internet makes you smarter or dumber. Read their commentaries and then decide for yourself: Yes or No. None of this “It depends…” stuff. That’s like voting for both candidates. Why bother?
I’ll do the same—and get back to you soon with my final answer.
Just now, though, I’m having some touble focusing. Plus, I have to check out a few new links, comment on some blogs, make a few fixes on my site and catch up on my e-mails.
Aw shoot, and I just remembered a bunch of texts on my iPhone that I must reply to. It’s beeping at me. Again. And again.
And…what the heckers? It’s 10:30 and I’ve forgotten to eat a healthy breakfast? That never used to happen!?!
Anyway, I’ll get back to you soon with my final answer. Promise.
(What was the question?)