Unplugging

Unplugging

I’m a dichotomy when it comes to technology. I love technology in the Brookstone, James Bond sense. In other words, I love gadgets, always have. But having grown up in the country with virtually no technology as compared with today, I would be equally comfortable if it all went away.

Technology has exploded into our lives over the last twenty years in particular. And most of it is really amazing. I often say that three tech inventions saved my life; the calculator, spell check, and GPS.

But as I watch my grandchildren, and others, play and interact with technology and people, I see the downside of what’s happening with the explosive growth of information and gadgets. The always-on, forever-connected lifestyle creates a distraction that is often not healthy. You know it’s bad and getting worse when you hear that 75 percent of people now use their phones in the bathroom.

Current studies show that 58 percent report feeling overloaded in today’s hyper-connected workplace. Roughly four out of 10 traced overload to too much information.

Professor Sherry Turkle, a social theorist and the founder and director of MITs Initiative on Technology and Self, writes that the social media we encounter on a daily basis are making us emotionally lazy and insensitive to fellow human beings.

Maybe the greatest downside is that we have become so accustomed to the stimulus, that we lose sight of the value of silence, and the perspective that comes with reflection on reality. Never was this so obvious than when one of the six people carrying the coffin of a friend at a funeral in L.A., was seen wearing headphones listening to music.

But if you think about it, it makes sense. The ultimate distraction from having to face the inevitable reality of death could be jamming your senses with music.

That’s why Solomon said [my translation] that it’s better to go to a funeral than a party, for “death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.”

So this week, unplug a bit. Because between on-demand TV, video games, movies, the Internet and countless other entertainment options, it’s easy to take our minds off the reality issues of our lives, and the lives of others.

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2