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Is Your Battery Charged?

Posted in: Blog by admin on February 11, 2011

I woke up early today, turned on the local news and challenged my not-fully-awake mind with the task of listening to the news while also reading the news running across the bottom of the screen.  This ticker-type news is relatively new.  I suppose the main news channels had to implement it to keep up with the competition.  But, it’s a lot of information at once.  Sometimes it’s timely, important news such as information about the situation in Egypt.  But, oftentimes, it’s trivial, celebrity-driven news such as details about the dress that Lindsay Lohan wore to trial.  Of course, we have been information-inundated for a while now.  And, as much as I am leery of this trend, I also am completely immersed in it.  I wonder if we could step back and change if we so desired?  Could we leave our cellphones tucked away in our purses while we enjoyed an hour lunch with a dear friend?  Could we turn off the television and read a book, without feeling like a stream of information is passing us by?  Could we feel relaxed, complete and present without knowing that anyone could reach us at any given moment?

Let’s think about the lives of our cellphones for a moment.  Mine joins me almost everywhere I go.  It rests on my nightstand while I sleep.  It accompanies me to my table while I’m out to eat.  It is in my hand while I walk through the grocery store.  What would happen if it were off?  What would happen if I were to miss a call?  We all say that we obsessively check our phones and have it available in case someone needs us … work, our children, our families.  But, is this really the truth?  And, are we going to let this become our truth?

I think we carry around our phones because we are addicted to doing so.  It’s just a habit that we have been running with, accepting and perpetuating as more technological advancements are created each day.  I love the advancements.  I appreciate the way in which it makes my life easier.  And, I recognize all of the benefits of being “so connected.”  But, I also am very aware of the way in which all of these connections make us disconnected or unaware or non-present.  How could all of this surface stimulation and information not have an impact on some of the more visceral feelings and thoughts we have?  It has to be impacting us in ways we are not considering.  It’s kind of ironic to consider, but we think more about making sure our cellphone batteries are charged then making sure our own batteries are charged and nourished.

Yesterday, a friend of mine met me for coffee with the goal of helping me with a website.  I walked into the little coffee shop carrying my laptop computer, an iPad and my phone.  All three items were spread out on the table, with just barely enough room remaining for my cup of tea.  He came in with his computer, back-up drive and cell phone, and we got to work.  As we were working, we felt something vibrate.  It was an alert on his phone from CNBC.  Then, we heard a ringing.

We looked at all of our electronics and then realized it was coming from the coat pocket hanging next to our table.  It was amusing, but it was alarming at the same time.  All of these distractions.  All of these “necessities.”  The electronics were there to aid us with our work, but at the same time, they deterred us from remaining focused.

We are simply overloaded with information.  And, everything is password coded, as well! I was laughing with a friend the other day about how we need pages and pages of password codes for all of our accounts to simply manage our daily lives.  If we moms have two pages of passwords stored on our computersand an armful of gadgets in tow when walking into a coffee shop, imagine what a CEO of a large company must lug around!

It seems to be spiraling out of control, and we’re not even able to observe it happening because we’re too busy looking down at our phones and up at our screens.  If we’re aware of the hold that it has on us, then maybe we can be the victor in the end.  I’m happy that my sleepy self was overwhelmed by this morning’s dueling news messages.  It was a “wake-up call” that made me jump out of bed.  Information and technology are everywhere — around us, in our purses, on our nightstands, out on our dates, in the cars with our children — everywhere.  Maybe we can use it to our advantage and not let it overtake us … not let it overwhelm us … not let it take away any moments of joy.  Knowing is half the battle.  Turning off our cellphones periodically and leaving our iPads at home occasionally would help, too!

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2 Responses to “Is Your Battery Charged?”

  1. rabbi Steve says:

    i read this on my phone my laptop my ipad and my desktop

    Couldn’t agree more

  2. Steve Lasin says:

    couldn’t agree more that as we have so much technology to stay connected, it often gets in the way. It is impersonal, distracting, and sometimes deters us from remaining connected.

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