Recently, in the dentist waiting room, I had an epiphany. As I sat there, I saw everyone was glued to their digital devices: smartphones, tablets, the whole shebang. I asked myself, how can we so socially connected and disconnected simultaneously? Then I typed these preliminary thoughts into my own mobile device… am I not the definition of hypocrisy?
Ever since I was a little kid, I have been guilty of internet overuse. I still remember the sweet sounds of dial-up connection, and being told by my mother to go offline so she could make a call. But gone are the days of pockets of disconnection from the world wide web. It’s scary. If we want to truly disconnect, we have to take precautions to actively remove ourselves. It seems that in this day and age, we are opted-in to the overstimulating braingasm that is the internet. Are we going numb? I don’t think so. However, we are at risk of abandoning real life socialisation all too frequently. A couple of years ago, I took a one month hiatus from my iPhone – not long after I set up this blog actually – and I wrote about it here. It was initially really difficult in those first few days, but I began to feel lighter, and my hinengaro was much improved during that time. I swapped my smartphone for a brick phone and I could only call or text people when I was out of the house. No wifi, no iTunes library, nada. Well – I should clarify that I scrounged myself an iPod classic and listened to that a lot when I was out and about; I also allowed myself to use internet as normal on my computer when I was at home.
I imagine it would be a lot harder to do this again now, as a current university student. Assignments are submitted online, I take my notes on Microsoft Word, extra-curricular social events are mostly promoted on Facebook… the ease and convenience of digital life is truly intoxicating. Sometimes, my online existence is difficult to separate from my actual physical life, and this worries me. The world around us expects increasingly instantaneous responses from all of us. It’s hard to disconnect, and it’s only going to get harder. In my eyes, digital technology has made strides for us, it has been a blessing – but also a curse. We seem to be getting more and more distant from fundamental things like lying in grass by a river, reading a good book, and climbing trees. The nature around is exquisite, intricate, mathematical yet often irregular, precious yet resilient, spiritual yet secular. Breathe in that wairua, ōku hoa!
Oh my lord, I sound like a bohemian.
Until next time… Abby out.