Have you looked around your world lately? No, not a technology-based view, a real “seen by your own eyes” view, old school style.
I mean it’s amazing, and we can all do incredible things, achieving what we never thought possible with AI, science, technology & connectivity; things we could only ever have dreamt of. Yet humans, I mean the one in the mirror, as well as the ones you live & work with, don’t all seem to be having such a WOW time. Globally & collectively, based on social media statuses, people seem to be soaring, yet back home within our families, in our relationships, and in our communities, there appears to be a very different story emerging.
A few curious questions
If we actually looked beyond the social media images, stories, reels & masks we may see that maybe, just maybe, the world does not really need more entrepreneurs, more technology breakthroughs, more billionaires or faster connectivity. Perhaps we may notice a need for more connection, more eyeball-to-eyeball conversations, and more interest in those next to you and around you – you know the real humans you are surrounded by. A strange concept perhaps, however, certainly one that humans are naturally wired for, a wiring that cannot simply be replaced by technology without a cost. I wonder if we are aware of the cost and do we ever stop to count the cost before we pay the price?
Imagine if you gave your partner, your child, or your colleague just 10% of the attention you give to Insta or Tik frikken Tok. I don’t think they would have any idea how to deal with that amount of YOU.
Can you imagine speaking to someone in a queue or in an elevator? Heaven forbid.
Imagine noticing that Sarah has very red and swollen eyes this morning, and it’s not allergy season.
Have we become so afraid of real connection?
Another’s brief thoughts
I love Margaret Wheatley, an incredible author who has written a number of books. In her most recent one, “Who Do We Choose To Be”, she notes that it is accurate to label this time we are living in as uncertain and chaotic, spinning wildly out of control. She says that communities and nations are disrupted by terrorist attacks, that people retreat in self-protection and lash out in fear, angry people strike back at their governments, leaders stridently promise security & outcomes we all know are not true, tensions between people reach hateful proportions, with confusion and exhaustion sinking us into despair and cynicism. She calls this age an age of “retreat”, from each other, from values that held us together, from inclusion, from belief in basic human goodness.
When I first read that I was like, seriously, now that is a whole lot of positive news Margaret! Thank you for that 😂.
Reading on though, I did get where she was going, specifically where she says that we could have been anything we wanted, yet our free-floating individualism has taken us far from community, contribution or connection, the very things that truly give life meaning and purpose.
Meaning and purpose
Now that is something I could connect with; meaning & purpose. I wondered whether if more people’s lives had meaning & purpose, we would still be seeing the astronomical rise in the use of antidepressants, the frightening increase in teenage suicides, and people increasingly experiencing social isolation, looking for some form of connection & meaning in all the wrong places.
I now wonder what could become possible if we courageously chose to take a look, to actually see what is going on around us. Disconnecting from those ever-demanding technology platforms, the ones which have stolen our hearts & minds, our time & attention. Perhaps, if we are really fortunate, we may notice that our world really needs us.
We may be just in time, not just for the world, but for ourselves, our relationships, our families, and our communities, where real purpose & meaning are actually found.
Are you willing to look around you?
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology & I certainly have my spot on those social media platforms. They have their uses & they have my attention 🙂. I am definitely not suggesting you destroy all technology in a mad rampage, however, a “detox” now & then would do no harm. Tread lightly though if you suggest this to your teenagers, they may experience it as worse than physical “death” 🙂. I suggest that there may be other, more effective ways to go about re-balancing the role of technology in your family 😂.
What I am referring to is the addictive online behaviour that is contributing to the deterioration of our social skills, wasting time & severely impacting lives.
I am almost certain most people would rather lose a limb than be disconnected from that constant technology “buzz”.
It’s what happens when I stop being connected to those around me, when they never get my undivided attention & I no longer notice the little things. What happens to the quality of my relationships? What happens to the meaning of life when it’s actually all about me?
We may say that we are continuously in contact, but are we connected? How can we be while flying past each other faster than the speed of light? However, we still make the time to upload that video capturing a person being attacked, or a child being bullied, all in the hope of securing a “viral” post rather than making any attempt, even if just to call someone, like the police or something to assist our fellow human being, and we still can’t see that something has seriously “derailed” 😳.
Technology has managed to distort what humans see as connection, stripping out all that humans are naturally wired for, such as real intimacy (not just sex); thinking together, listening, being present, giving someone your undivided attention, or being “seen’ by another. Connecting in this manner just seems so old-fashioned. I mean being physically present, with humans & looking them in the eye. Who does that?!
A truth that remains
Apparently these days it’s far more exciting to randomly scroll through pages & pages of social media posts, made by people you don’t know, people who truly don’t give a hoot about you, buying into & shaping our lives on realities that are often filled with contradictions, lies, false truths & inconsistencies that cause one to seldom know the truth anymore.
In fact, what is truth these days? Whatever the latest, most popular movie god or goddess “posts”, or that reality TV person, or the “wealthiest” technology god view of the world?
A truth that genuinely stands the test of time, because we are in fact human, is that spending time with those you care about matters, and makes a difference. It truly does, yet sadly you may no longer remember this because it’s been so long since you felt seen, or heard yourself.
We used to ask ourselves how this lack of human connection has become possible. These days I am not certain how many still bother to even ask. It’s so much easier just going with the flow, isn’t it?
Is it really?
Imagine the possibilities
Imagine if each one of us gave just 15 minutes a day of our undivided attention to another human being. Ok, 15 minutes given to just one person may frighten the shit out of them 😂, so split it between 2 people, 3 if you have to. The point is more about you giving unselfishly of yourself on a daily basis & noticing what you see as if it was for the first time.
This leaves a huge amount of time for those technology habits & necessities, because technology can be an incredible enabler if used appropriately. Just saying.
Ok, so if only 100 people did this, it would equate to 1,500 minutes a day, that’s 750 hours a day and 45,000 minutes a month. Imagine if 1,000 or 10,000 made this tiny contribution to someone other than themselves. Imagine the impact.
We can all truly make a significant difference if we just take the time to notice the damage our lack of presence is causing to those closest to us, at home and at work.
Online relationships, connectivity & human interaction can never replace human-to-human connection – end of story!
You can either contribute to the problem or decide to give someone else a little more of yourself, in person & contribute to adding more meaning & purpose into your life, into your relationships, into your community – because in the end, we all want to matter to someone.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity” – Albert Einstein.