Our lives are dominated by tiny touch screens.
I commute regularly to my university, and regularly I observe people on the bus or skytrain with their head bent downwards, consumed by the minuscule, glowing device in their hands, tapping or swiping frantically away, along with two tiny earbuds planted in their ears. Texting, listening to music, internet-surfing, gaming.
These devices overpopulate our lives, creating a need to connect, connect at all times. We are scared to be alone with our thoughts. Or we’re no longer willing to, or unaccustomed to, or forgetting how to. Is it that difficult to sit for an hour or so on transit, just thinking, feeling, and being? Perhaps most people consider it a waste of time to “do nothing”, but what they utilize their smart phones or iPhones or iPods for is most likely–nothing.
I refuse to take technology take control over my life. I have an Android phone, and I stay away from it for as long as possible. I no longer use my iPod, other than waking myself up with the alarm function. I can’t stand having sounds right next to my ears anymore, so I stopped listening to music all together. The traffic is too loud anyway.
I want to get away from all these screens. Smart phone. iPod. My laptop. My tablet. Funny thing is I can’t survive without them. Well, I have successfully ditched my iPod, limited my use on my smart phone, and attempted to stay away from the laptop for as long as possible. If I don’t need it, I close the lid and go do something else. I don’t want to waste time on Youtube, mindless surfing and reblogging anymore. Yet, I find myself returning to its clutches whenever I need to type something…for school, for blog posts, for poems, for whatever reason…
Why doesn’t the world allow us time to write anymore? To write down things by hand, to mull things over, to gradually accumulate our thoughts? What has “time” become? Why are we always short on time? Why 24 hours a day? Why govern ourselves so rigidly around the clock? Why? Why do we do this to ourselves when we all yearn to be free and happy?
Why do we live like this? What does civilization provide for us, other than schedules, busy routines, deadlines, rules? Why do we live in this temporal prison? Why do we live in a temporal world?
Why not live by inspiration? Spontaneity? Impulses (healthy ones)?
Why not live by love, by expression, by freedom?
Why do we go to work from 9-5?
We exist this way, and we obey the rules, so society can function.
What is society anyway?
Returning to the technological devices…
I recall two months ago, I volunteered as the head camp councilor at a summer camp for three weeks. I am worried for the children (around 8-12) of this generation. They obsess over iPods and iPads, their childish desires completely and inevitably consumerist and materialistic. These kids are growing up with the internet, wifi, game apps, and everything virtual that exist on a screen. I grew up with toys, stuffed animals, board games, and when I was slightly older I had computer games, and then later the social media. My parents grew up with nature, toys and people.
Also, another random point: one kid (very cute, eight years old) came up to me. “Hello volunteer. Do you like films?”
I said I do, and we talked about the movies we like to watch for a bit.
And then, out of the blue, he said to me, “Have you watched Human Centipede?”
I swear, I nearly spat out my lungs. “Did you just say Human Centipede?”
“Yeah,” he said, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for an eight-year-old kid to say. “I want to watch the second one.”
Oh dear god. Our world is messed up. I can’t even–