“I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”-Albert Einstein
Let me precede this post with two things. One is that I apologize for the scarcity of posts lately. I’ve been engulfed in grad school applications and after spending hours typing essay after essay (because they all couldn’t just choose the same topic, could they? Drats.), the last thing I want to do is spend another hour staring at this screen, prolonging a self-induced migraine sequence that cannot possibly be kicked unless I cut myself off from technology (it’s a vicious cycle). Two, I am not saying that our generation is full of a bunch of idiots………yet. So, I’m going to pull a “Wreck it Ralph” today and hop through the world of technology for a few minutes. Not too long though, because that will defeat the purpose of the post in the first place—and we don’t want that, now do we?
Carpe Diem. Live in the moment. Appreciate what you have. Those are great phrases to live by, but they lose all meaning if they are simply thrust from one’s mouth (or should I say fingers?) with no rhyme or reason and additionally, no action to back them up. I feel like with society’s acceptance of our constant attachment to electronic devices, we forget that when we become engrossed in our cell phones, we are no longer living in the moment—in fact, we’re not living at all. It’s as if we’re in some sort of limbo. Waiting. Waiting for that phone call. Waiting for the response to a text that was sent TWO MINUTES AGO. Waiting for an email from work. So, we choose to neglect the world around us, the one we can actually reach out and touch, for a world of waiting. That’s no way to live.
I remember when I was little I used to meet my one friend halfway between our houses when it snowed so we could play together. We obviously didn’t have cell phones back then, so we would call each other on our house phones, set a time to meet, and just walk, hoping that the other person would remember. And if they didn’t show up because they got held up at home and couldn’t come out, then it was at least a nice walk through the white abyss and a good excuse to get out of the house. That was it. Plain and simple. We weren’t constantly texting each other making sure that the other person would be there on time to prevent being “awkwardly” left alone for even a second. If our schedules aligned and we ended up meeting, we would have the times of our lives because we would be with each other. And when I say “with each other”, I don’t just mean physically; I mean we were both present. No one was reaching out from a snow plot across town to talk to us. Neither one of us had our minds anywhere else but on that soft snow and how we would manage to turn “fluff” into “snowman snow.” That’s what living in the moment is all about, and when it comes down to it, those are the memories that you will hold closest to your heart. You will not fondly remember a text message you received which pulled you away from the conversation you were having with a friend over lunch. It’s just not going to happen.
Another great thing from childhood: Winnie-the-Pooh. Remember when he used to get the honey jar stuck on his head and stumble around, walking past his friends, and knock into a tree? That’s basically the equivalent to a person who is constantly on their phone in public: unaware of what’s going on around them, missing out on things their friends are doing, not paying attention and accidentally knocking into other people who are also too busy to look up from their phones. Pooh was blissfully unaware of the fact that what he was searching for in the honey pot could never be found there. Don’t be like Pooh. Get your head out of that cyber honey jar and start looking for meaning in other places in your life. Who wants to walk into a tree, after all? Now that will make you look like an idiot.
This holiday season let’s all make a vow to put down our cell phones while we are spending time with friends and family. Shut them off, hide them under a cushion, leave them in the car–whatever you have to do. Let’s prove Einstein wrong for once. We are not a generation of idiots. We have a lot to offer this world and it’s up to us to pull ourselves out of this technological entrancement. Your biggest present this year will be your presence. Start giving.