phones. “How can you survive without a cell phone?” or “What happens if you find yourself in an emergency?” are common questions, and it is at this point that my face twists and I rhetorically respond, “Could you really not survive without being connected 24/7? And do you think that in an emergency a person is completely helpless without a phone?” I generally save my sarcastic comments such as, “I wonder how mankind survived tens of thousands of years without being connected. It seems incredible! And what did people do if their horse and buggy broke down, heaven forbid they venture to the nearest neighbor or ask someone for assistance.
The reality is that no matter where you look, everyone is always connected.
There is an irony to this ‘connectedness’, however, for while we are connected more than ever, the quality of our relationships have diminished. As I sit here at a café watching people pass by, I am amazed at how consumed the majority are with their tiny screens, for rather than being aware of the wonderful world around them, they are lost in a virtual space with no depth. And to add to that, my wife and I often find ourselves sad when we see couples not engaging with each other, but rather sitting silently, each with their heads down focused on the glowing screens in their hands.
Now don’t get me wrong, I would by a total hypocrite to suggest that I am against technology, for I rely on the computer for business, I send dozens of personal and work-related emails each day, I travel with a tablet for reading and I dedicate at least two hours a day to writing on my laptop. In essence, I am very connected, the difference being that I know when to shut it all down and have no problem in doing so; it is just as natural as turning off a light switch. And unlike so many others, I am confident that when I turn off my devices, the world will still exist the moment I disconnect.
Isn’t it time we look up and feel the sun on our face, notice the people passing us on the streets and be aware of the wonderful world around us? I for one am grateful that I remain unconnected, for in the words of William Ernest Henley, “I am master of my fate; I am captain of my soul”, and no phone is going to control my life… I wonder how many others can say that.