It’s late and you’re tired and sleepy, so let’s try to make this really short. Today while you were waiting for your metro to and fro from work, you looked around the station and realized something. A large number of passengers on the platform were bent over their digital devices as if their lives depended on them. The situation was oddly homogeneous, with passive faces and bent heads showing little signs of movement while thumbs were moving incessantly. Every now and then, a head would look up and gaze around and then shift their attention back to the screen again.
Of course, you’re no exception to this common scenario either. You’re either always reading an e-book on the metro or if you’ve managed to connect to free WiFi, you’re chatting and/or browsing the internet. You’d rather have your mind diverted by your phone than observe your surroundings just because it feels strangely odd to spend time with your own thoughts.
When did life become so virtual, you wonder? When did people stop being a community and started becoming isolated beings who just temporarily share a space together in a public space but are mentally halfway across the world with whoever has their attention on the little screen? What is this big obsession we’ve all gotten into with selfies and social networking? The more ‘social’ we seem to become online, the more we seem to withdraw into our own selves in the real world. Does this make any sense?
Luckily, you’ve seen the other side too way back before smartphones took over our lives. Back home in India, you’ve seen strangers chatting up and becoming acquaintances whereas here in the big city, it’s considered weird even to make eye contact and smile at another person, let alone start a conversation.
After all, haven’t you been annoyed at your own friends who have initiated meetup plans but when you do meet, all they seem to be busy doing is cutting off your conversation to instant message God knows who is on the other end of their phones?
Anyway T, today’s little observation must have made you ponder carefully whether manners, people and communication skills have different dynamics nowadays. Well, of course they do. With such distracted and half-hearted attention (of which you are guilty as well, don’t try to deny it!), relationships and friendships are more fickle than ever. Not to mention how much a strong reliance on technology affects our brains in so many ways, starting with poor memory, a lack of self-awareness and a poor judgement and instinct.
I wish I could give you pointers as I did in the past 3 lessons but I am way too sleepy to think of any. Maybe they’ll come to me later but for now, all I can say is, try to put that phone away and start becoming fully aware in the present moment. You’ll be surprised by how life’s multi-dimensional large screen is way more interesting than the 5 inch screen you’re holding.
Much love and sweet dreams,
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