Tag Archives: Smart Phone

Going Dark

28 Jun

The other day while driving around I stopped at a very busy intersection. While I waited for the light to change, I saw a man walking across the street. He had headphones on, and was texting. There were cars turning into his lane, and lots of traffic. He was oblivious to it all. It appeared that because of the headphones he could not hear what was going on around him, and because he was looking down at his phone as he walked across the busy intersection, he couldn’t see what was going on either. So basically, he was navigating a dangerous intersection both deaf and blind – by choice. I was stunned. It was astounding to see, and somewhat disturbing.

Today technology is everywhere. We carry our smartphones with us to keep in touch, and many of us listen to music with headphones as we go about our various tasks. There is nothing wrong with technology, but the problem comes when that technology endangers us, or isolates us. There are limits to how we can successfully use these tools. Everywhere we go, we see people walking and texting, and tripping, and running into things. People even text as they drive, and nothing could be more dangerous. Despite the many deaths that have been the result of this behavior, some continue to do it. Headphones are nice, but can be dangerous as well if they keep us from hearing alerts around us. If we don’t hear the warning, we can’t duck.

All of this technology has its place, and it’s useful. But there is always a trade off. An associate of mine sent me a picture of a dinner he recently attended. There were several company CEOs and senior leaders from various corporations there. It was a chance for ideas to be exchanged, and plans made for the coming year. The picture showed them all sitting around the table looking at their phones, and texting instead of talking. It was astonishing to see them interacting with their phones instead of with those around them, especially when there was such a wealth of experience, and inspiration available right there at the table. I’m sure we’ve all been out with friends, and waited while they texted this person or that, or took every call that came. It’s disheartening to feel that even though we have taken our time for them, they have not taken their time for us.

Today if your’re used to texting throughout the day, and wearing headphones, perhaps go dark for a while. Try being in the moment, where you are. Put your phone down, and connect with those around you. There will be time to catch up with others later. If you’re used to wearing headphones all day, try taking them off for a while to hear the conversations around you, and get involved. Enjoy your gadgets, stay in touch, but remember, while you’re pushing buttons, and texting people who aren’t there, while you’re zoning out to the music in your ears, your life is going by. Precious moments to connect with those right next to you are being missed. Take some time to go dark, unplug, connect, and converse. Interaction in person is the very best we can experience. Enjoy that. Catch your favorite tune, and check your phone later. They’ll still be there.