At no period in history have we experienced the galactic environmental and social changes of today. It is a natural consequence of our evolution. The times are fascinating and challenging. It is not surprising we can feel lost, stressed, and out of date. The speed of technology, access to knowledge, and instant communication are measured in nano seconds, and the speed is accelerating.
For those who have grown up in the 21st century, technology may seem natural. But for those just learning while in advancing years, it can be overwhelming, frustrating, frightening.
Changes are inevitable in nature. They are also causes of cosmic opportunities and consequences. As always, the choices are ours to analyze, accept or reject.
In spite of lacking scientific academic background, I am trying to make sense and learn from it with an open attitude. Great minds have offered their thoughts, and I have drawn from their opinions in the quotes below, all taken from TheWeek.com 2012 article Technology: Is it making addicts of us all?
“With smart phones, tablets and other digital devices reshaping how people work, communicate and spend their free time, scientists and psychologists are starting to question what our reliance on these devices is doing to our minds.
There is a growing concern that technology is taking over people’s lives. It is a cultural recognition that people have a pathological relationship with their devices; people feel not just addicted, but trapped.” (Matt Richtel, The New York Times)
“We’re paying a steep price for our digital obsession…Constant use of these devices is already rewiring the physical structure of our minds…Over time, a brain habituated to these quick fixes shrinks the structure used for concentration, empathy and impulse control, while growing new neurons receptive to speedy processing and instant gratification.” (Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek)
“Americans use on average 122 more hours per year than Brits and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks) more than Germans on these devices.” (Alexis Madrigal in TheAtlantic.com)
As Silicon Valley tech guru Soren Gordhamer has said, “We are in a phase of ‘What have we done?’”
“There is a good treatment, if not a cure; it is called nature. When we go out into the great outdoors, the illusion of control technology provides disappears and we are deflated, humbled and in awe all at once. In the vast “natural cathedral” we are reminded of a world much larger than ourselves – one that predates us, will outlive us, and at whose mercy we exist.” (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times)
I believe in this with all my heart, soul and mind.
To escape our “postindustrial self-absorption” we all need to leave our iPhone at home at least once a week and take a walk in nature. Your devices will be waiting when you return and you will be a bit saner when you rejoin the endless conservation.
George can be reached at [email protected]