iamtheinvisiblehand

Posts Tagged ‘technology

I went with my husband to the mall’s food court a few months ago to grab a quick bite before our movie started. There was nothing unusual for a Friday night at the mall, except for the fact that there were 4 teenagers at the table behind us just sitting there in silence.

Puzzled by the lack of any sign of movement or sound, we turned around to take a look. As it turns out, there were 2 girls and 2 boys (I’d say around age 16), the girls on one side, the boys on the other (it looked like some kind of blind date for one of the couples). Things were fine up to this point. What left us dumbstruck was the fact that they were – each of them – texting on their phones and that kept them from interacting with each other. It was the saddest thing I ever saw.

I know well that times have changed, me being part of the generation that learned to type on a typewriter and gradually made the transition to a PC; to print my first papers on the noisy dot matrix printer and end up with a petit laser printer; from having (and using) regular phones at home to not knowing how I ever managed before cordless phones appeared, and from using the huge devices that were the first cell phones to the minimalistic cell phones available today that have buttons you have to stick your nails into if you want to press them. Or even better: there were no cell phones in my childhood and early adolescence, so we had to use the regular phone (or payphone) to get in touch with our parents to let them know where we were and that were OK.

Oh yes, times have changed.

But does that mean that we now have to be 100% reliant on technology and forget that as human beings, we are social animals and as such have the physiological need to interact with others (even if sometimes we don’t particularly enjoy it)?

I mean, these kids were just a small example of something you see everyday: you’re at a meeting and one person in 3 is busy texting away while pretending to pay attention to what is being said; you’re in someone’s living room, or visiting a relative and there are at least two people (not necessarily teenagers) who have chosen a quiet corner in which they can text away at their leisure. Or even worse: there are two or more people at the same gathering who are texting each other and passing jokes and comments on their phones, not even bothering to speak to each other.

What is going on? Is this what we’re becoming?

I know that most people now have BBs and similar because they need them for work, or at least that’s what they’ll tell you. I wonder if they really do. Of course I admit that current technology has improved our lives in ways we never could have imagined, but I’m also certain that we have become dependent on our “gadgets” in a way that is almost dehumanizing.

I’m quite sure that our parents were just as good and effective employees back in their day as anyone who is currently a part of the workforce. The main difference is, they were able to “disconnect” themselves and do so much more for themselves and their family. Even though many of us had workaholic parents or parents who just had to work extra hard to support their household, at least in my case, when my mother was with us, she was with us heart, mind and soul, if even for a little while. Which is why I find it surprising how nowadays, in spite of the ever-growing array of working options and the greater freedom given by employers worldwide to make it easier for their employees to spend time with their family, people are just not taking advantage of it and are “not all there”. 

For although they can move around a lot more and share some time with their kids and spouses, people are always losing focus on things that matter and concentrating on more “urgent” stuff – a.k.a. everything else. Even when doing something they really enjoy (watching TV, eating out, etc.), people are unable to keep their mind on what they are doing, and instead are thinking of the other million things that are happening while they are “absent” or “disconnected”. It’s almost like things have been reversed: instead of thinking about what you’re missing when you’re not doing what you like the most (e.g. thinking about fishing while at work), we’re worried about what we’re missing while we are doing the things that at some point gave us immense pleasure.

Ever wondered why good TV shows get cancelled so soon? My guess is that, among others, people are not focused on what they’re watching and quickly lose interest in the plot if it requires their full attention and putting down their phone, no matter how good it is.

It’s like our generation and those behind us have lost their “lust for life” and have settled for being permanently hooked on our gadgets as if they were another appendage.

I guess we convince ourselves that what we are doing what must be done in order to live our lives the best we can and as such, every single personal life-related decision is valid. However, once we start losing sight of who we are, and unable of separating it from what we do and what we want, there is no turning back.

Our generation, I believe, is doomed, but there’s still time for the others to straighten their ideas and get it right before it’s too late and the cycle repeats itself: parents not paying attention to their kids, spouses ignoring each other, etc. and therefore the pattern repeating itself with each new generation.

I just hope I’m wrong.



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  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom

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