Social & Domestic Issues

Smartphone oblivion

Smartphone oblivion

There used to be a trite expression tossed around, mostly by liberated young girls like this one, that prompted one to “Live in the moment.” It is difficult for a person who is not Ebenezer Scrooge or Marty McFly to do otherwise, however, the phrase seemed to be more about disregarding consequences and excusing oneself for shedding one’s inhibitions and doing “whatever I wanted to, and if you provoke me, I’ll do it again,” than about embracing God’s will and taking seriously that “forever is composed of nows.”

The “Live in the moment” attitude seems to have gone out of fashion, however, and now the trend is to live in someone else’s moment, or else impose your moments on people who themselves are seeking an alternative moment in which to live. This reality hit me like a ton of bricks this past weekend at a concert I attended. As the performer debuted (It was this man- and his appearance was craze-worthy for obvious reasons), about half the crowd raised their arms to take pictures, videos, Snapchats (?), and otherwise document and share the singer’s emergence with anyone who would take the time to be interested. I was prevented from seeing the stage and the singer other than by looking through the screens of the phones which blocked my view. The other half of the audience did not participate in the evidence-gathering because they had their eyes glued to the screens of their devices and failed to notice the artist’s arrival at all.

The majority of people use their phones too much. We all know we/they do. (I don’t remember the last time I made eye contact with someone on the metro.) But what is it they’re addicted to? Are we as a society brimming these days with an unprecedented number of great thoughts and ideas, and do smartphones provide us with an outlet to express our genius? No. Not every thought is worth expressing. In fact, most are not, as evidenced every instant by the content of smartphone conversations.

Facebook is a “social networking” service which supposedly keeps us all connected. Twitter is similar. Text messages and FaceTime ensure that we’re never not able to be in touch. Do we love each other more than ever, then, constantly communicating the depths of our souls and growing ever-closer to our fellow human beings? Or is it one more channel through which gossip and expressions of banal vanity aimed at impressing others with our own greatness can flow?

Do people use their “iDistractions” as resources to aggregate information? If this were the case, we’d be the most well-informed and highly literate generation of all time. We are not.

Are we the most sentimental generation that ever existed? Eager to capture every living moment for preservation in our hearts, minds, and SIM cards and appreciate them for the long haul? Where do these thousands of pictures end up once they are replaced by the next experience and by the latest technological-historian model?

People no longer think about what’s actually going on or how their experiences affect them. Instead, they are consumed with how their activities will be perceived by others and in what ways their presentation will impact their social status.

Maybe living in the moment was the right way to go, after all. As Goldie Hawn wisely said, “Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?”

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