We Are Connected, Still We Are Not
“All of a sudden, we’ve lost a lot of control,’ he said. ‘We can’t turn off our internet; we can’t turn off our smartphones; we can’t turn off our computers. You used to ask a smart person a question. Now, who do you ask? It starts with g-o, and it’s not God…”
— Steve Wozniak
Ostensibly we all think we are connected to each other, but still, we experience loneliness majority of the time, even in the presence of other people. Technology is a double-edged sword. I see an increasing number of people, whether it be in the public transport, a restaurant or a cafe sucked into their smartphones. We have to be more mindful about our usage and get rid of the compulsiveness.
We have to be able to distinguish between what we see in physical reality versus the digital reality. Connecting with others happens in a snap in the online world. Without interacting with the other person, it’s very easy to know what’s going on in their lives. We don’t have time to talk with someone new for hours, we are too busy. And sadly, we never end up knowing who they are on a deeper level ever. With technology also comes superficiality and judgment. What I’ve noticed which smartphones is that it helps us connect to others but that connection is not real. Truth be told, a ‘friend’ has become a superficial term now. We all think we have hundreds of friends, but this is just a figment of our imagination.
We’re in this web of superficiality where we have a virtual set up of connection, happiness, and bonding, but in the real world we’re still the same people with the same surroundings and most often than not with the same amount of loneliness. This superficiality will persist, but it’s our goal to seek realness and genuineness. Connecting with people is simple but not easy. If we need to build real connections, we need to create opportunities to meet and interact with people in the physical world. Friendships and relationships are nurtured by our physical presence, not by liking posts or endless texting.
Technology is driving people inside their homes, their smart homes actually to be precise! With Netflix and online deliveries, we all are happy to be in our homes rather than being out. We refrain from going out for a picnic with friends in the park, heading to a coffee shop, or spending time in nature. Many times we show the world that we are interested in multiple events on Facebook and have the most amazing social life but in reality, we are enjoying the comfort of our homes on our couch in pajamas and watching Netflix. Why not be honest with ourselves and others?
We try to find mates by swiping on the dating apps but still when we are on a train, we fail to notice and acknowledge the stranger who’s standing beside us. What if your soulmate is just around you? Maybe he wants your attention and would love to talk to you, but you are too busy checking your Instagram feed. Do I say that plugging into your smartphone is bad? Of course not, but we have to stay away from doing it compulsively. We have to be more mindful about its usage so that we don’t miss the opportunities around us.
We have to start giving more importance to the interactions that we have in the real world. It’s much easier to talk with a stranger and know the level of attraction that she has for you and how genuine your chemistry is before you ask out her on a date. We can socialize and date online and that is totally fine, but we also have to pay attention to the people around us.
The world is amazing and the more we’re online and on our smartphones, we’re missing the realness. We’re missing the spontaneity and juiciness of life. Embrace life as it is! Log out of your social media accounts and other irrelevant and time consuming online activities. Take a timeout when you can just get rid of your headphones and stay away from your smartphone. Go outside and get more green time rather than screen time!
Create interactions, give real and genuine compliments, and exchange smiles and hugs; deep down we all crave for them. We have to start being more real because the physical world around us and our human behaviors are not going to change any sooner. We need to interact the way the humans are meant to interact!