July 16, 2010

Turning Off for a True Connection

Recently I have read articles and stories about individuals attempting (some successful and others not) to turn off from their technology. From leaving the cell phone at home to picking up a book instead of turning on the TV to even (dare I say it) keeping the computer on shut down.  It has been interesting to read the comments and realizations the have come out of these experiences. Many have been pleasantly surprised at the re-connection they have made with their families and friends and others have gone into heavy withdrawal only to slip back into the comforts and securities only Facebook can provide.

Without that "connection" (albeit superficial in my opinion) many people would be lost....and that's sad to me. I think I should have been born in the earlier part of the 1900's because I don't get the draw to technology. While I am amazed at what it can do for us, I'm so scared of what it is doing to our health. Our social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical health are at risk without a healthy respect for technology. If you can't turn off your brain and enjoy the benefits of a peaceful mind, perhaps it is time to turn off your tech. Try to unplug for even 15 minutes adding more time every week. Put yourself on a technology-reduction program.

There is a great periodical I have been picking up when I can from an organization called "Ad Busters" https://www.adbusters.org/. You may have heard of it. Although it may appear radical at first, I always feel validated and understood when I read it because it advocates getting back to basics and reacquainting yourself with yourself. Who are YOU? What do you think (apart from what the media tells you to think)? And by the way...we are ALL socialized and influenced by the media. It challenges what we think we know and suggests many other ways to be in the world.

My sister and I are so different in so many ways. One big difference is she has a passion for social media and I....not so much.  I drove down to visit two weeks ago to witness the influences of social media on her life and have yet to get the visual out of my head. There, on the couch, with the TV on, she was on her laptop and her husband on his blackberry. While I think TV is a great form of entertainment and diversion and computers and blackberries are very useful, I do believe there is a lack of respect for them and a definite influence on social health.  Kinda like the frog that doesn't realize he is being boiled because the temperature increases slowly, we may be loosing real connection and replacing it with fake without even realizing it.

So what does this have to do with health? A true connection with others isn't something you can obtain from the Internet. Yes, you may cultivate your own community of people on the social networking site, but it is superficial. A deep connection includes a mutual and sincere interest in each other and THAT's good for your health. Obviously, this is a subject of great interest for me as this blog isn't the first on the topic. I am truly scared for our society and for the millenials (those born 2000) who aren't learning the simple things in life like "please" and "thank you". They aren't learning social skills and how to play in real life. These are the people who will be taking care of the Gen X's....it's scary people!

So in conclusion, I just want to make a suggestion.  Turn off the technology and turn on your brain, your social skills, your passion for people (real people). Sit at a dinner table together. Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Strengthen family relationships (as we constantly see in the news..you never know when they will be gone for good). Teach your kids the basics in manners and respect. The world (and you) will be happier and healthier for it! My favorite quote is one from Gandhi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." If you want to live in a world that is respectful, peaceful, kind, thoughtful, loving, and caring BE those things. However, if you are happy living in a disconnected, self-serving, insincere, fake, anxiety-ridden, disrespectful, and complacent society....don't do a thing we are on our way.

I know...a pretty negative comment on things, but whatever....it's my blog and no one is challenging me on it (hint hint).


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