Sunday, February 21, 2016

Slamming the Phone

A friend shared this thoughtful bit of poetry recently.

He introduced it with the phrase "guilty as charged," and I responded likewise. Guilt is not the goal, though; rather, pausing to think about how we can reduce the noise and increase the signal; how we can create space for attention by setting aside distractions. (All of the links in this article are to previous posts on this blog, relating to several aspects of our distraction culture.)

This friend is my age (well, almost) and we are both as tempted by the interuptions of technology as teenagers. In fact, I only see this friend in real life a couple times a year, so the technology itself is an important nexus of our friendship  And even this work by the poet Prince Ea came to me by way of Facebook, and features various ways of sharing it on Facebook and other platforms.

But still, his point is well taken and even if it is too late too unplug, we can be more mindful of how and when we connect.

I think the best place in a car for a cellphone is the trunk. For dinner at home, the best place is another room. For dinner in a restaurant, the OFF switch can be employed (I think every phone has one), as it can be in classrooms or when on a walk with friends.

We are flooded with micronews, cute news, strange news, staged news, and other forms of ever-less-relevant information that we miss the truly big stories.

The focus on our online life can be more than distracting, though: it can warp our priorities. On the same day I saw this video, I learned of the death of a dolphin in Argentina as a direct result of beachgoers who valued a selfie with the dolphin more than the dolphin itself.
With some effort, we can be smarter than this goldfish. Maybe.

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