Is technology really a bad thing?
As with all things, I think it depends how you use technology/social media. Are you using it to learn more about the things you are interested in, to reach out to people, to share & grow?
I've had a very hard time discerning between having an 'actual life' & having an 'active social media life'. Yeah sure, there are always comics about children sitting hunched over their gadgets while a beautiful day goes on outdoors, but I have come to see that situations matter.
Now, one has to understand that social media is a way to connect to people. You can get in touch with someone on the other side of the globe with just a few taps on your phone screen. Amazing, no? You may find others who are on your same wavelength, something which you may not have been able to find in your immediate surroundings.
Information is always readily available, connections are always waiting to be built...only if we are open enough to them.
Things start going downhill when too much emphasis is placed on interaction through technology. When you'd rather talk with your friends through Facebook comments instead of across the table. Strange, isn't it; how two people can be sitting across each other yet choose to communicate through a tiny screen which sends signals to a satellite God-knows how far away which then sends the signal back to the other person's phone (who is sitting less than a meter away from the first person, hahahahahah!)...
However! I don't think it is wrong to want to spend time online with your friends & family who are living far away from you. It does not mean that one is sacrificing his/her life that is happening before their eyes, just because they choose to give a part of their day to another person through technology.
I have many friends & dear ones who live miles away. But we still keep in touch with each other, even if not regularly but once in a while.
Why? Why does this happen? One can easily say that we should live in the moment, we should focus on those around us, & all sorts of other philosophical quotes.
But my question to you is: How much do you value this other person? What do they bring to your life that no one else around you can?
You see, dear friends; times have changed. It is not like back in the days of Buddha when your brother had to take 5 weeks to go to the nearest village & you are sitting beside the window looking out into the distance every day, waiting for him to come home...hahahahah...
The very definition of 'those around you' has changed with the revolution of technology.
You can still go around your daily life, just devoting maybe 5, 10 minutes or however much you want to, in communication with your brother who is away from home.
I don't think that wanting to connect to your nearest & dearest is a crime.
Even if it's not your brother, say, your best friend has moved across the country. People will definitely tell you to find a new best friend, one with whom you can actually 'do things' together with.
What if you've searched, & you couldn't find another like them? Does that still make it wrong to reach out to them through technology? Does that mean you should still continue searching, knowing that this person who totally gets you is just right there 'in front' of you (so to say).
Again, don't take my word for it. Priorities. Priorities weigh heavily in this matter, & everybody's priorities are different. It is impossible to find someone whose priorities match ours 110% all the time.
'Those around you' - the definition of this has changed, but the phrase 'be present' has not. Another factor that is important is how present are you when you are using or not using your gadgets. I found this on Facebook a few days ago:
When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. Drink your tea slowly & reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is Life.
Similarly, when you choose to devote a piece of your day to someone, give that piece fully. Instead, we are hesitant when cutting the cake, so that the piece is bigger on top & tapers down towards the bottom, because whilst cutting we are continuously second-guessing ourselves, 'No, I'm giving too much, I should cut down a bit', & so instead of cutting straight down, the knife cuts inward a bit; & then when handing the piece of cake over, again second-guessing, & the piece is crumbling to the ground slowly but surely; & what is left when it actually reaches the hands of the other? Only bits & pieces, tiny crumbs.
So much wasted in doubt & over-thinking.
What & who is important to you, right in this moment of time. Everything else is secondary. To hell with the idea that gadgets take you away from 'real life', that gadgets are a distraction, that the Internet is a waste of time! Tell me, what do you do with a book? You read it, don't you? What do you do when you surf the Internet? You can also read, can't you? The only difference is the reading material you choose. The message can be the same, but the medium different.
Of course, you can't have a proper relationship or build a family with someone who lives miles away from you; but that is another story. What I am trying to highlight here is that sometimes we can get techno-phobia. We are so afraid of being sucked into technology & letting life pass us by.
I say, everything in moderation. 'Be present with those around you'. Hahahahahahah!
Coincidentally, a few days ago, teen model Essena O'Neill came out with a lengthy video (which is no longer available on YouTube because she has deleted her account) on why she is quitting social media: AND! even more recently, Rachel Brathen's TEDxAruba talk was posted on YouTube! So much excitement for one week! So next post will be my opinion on these two very opposing perspectives of social media! Stay tuned!