Can we quantify and qualify everything we do?
Is that a good thing?
Think about the latest craze about wearables. Our heart rates, respirations, movements are being monitored and stored in some digital universe for retrieval later by us or someone else all the time. There are methods measuring the measures that measure our progress or lack thereof. There is a constant cacophony of “talking heads” on television that it is a must for the 21st Century being to make certain that each step is quantified, each wink immortalized, each view in the mirror, mirrored to the world and each thought expressed. The makers of the wearables are eager to have you buy the latest greatest gizmo and attach it to your limb, body, ear or eye in the hopes of gathering data about the “pathetic’ populace that is so out of touch with itself in staying healthy. In so doing they are tethering us into this virtual world of electronic emptiness.
What did the older generations do?
Really what did they do?
Asking a 90 year old and his response is simple. “We played stick ball in the streets and our elders watched from the sidelines keeping a watchful eye on traffic.” He added, “”We played football with a stuffed toy, or jumped in a brook nearby to cool down.”
“Yes and we were as thin as rails.” I could throw a stick like a javelin, hurl a ball as a hammer throw and swim like a fish in a lake. Yes we did all that and more!” He closes his eyes to the present in search of a distant but a pleasing past.
Now we have a constant flow of gadgets and gizmos galore that a 3 year-old can expertly navigate to the latest You-Tube video of Disney character in under ten seconds and there sit with eyes staring at the flicker of the screen, mesmerized by the limits of time during which the adult seeks refuge in their virtual world transgressions.
Is the progress we seek that is around us today, the progress we sought in days past? Apparently it is, after all we are here. The verse has changed. Maybe it needs a revision?
Asking a 20 year old and her response is simpler. “Umm…” as her eyes are glazed over by the flicker of her computer screen.
We want connections, we want to be liked for all the selfish reasons, we want to have a constant wave of onlookers that give “thumbs up” and a one word response of “Great, Brilliant, Excellent,” or the implied sentiment thru, “LOL, LMAO or some other contrived messaging that appeals to the vacuous nature of such connections.” We fear direct contact for fear of appearing stupid, or quiet or humble. We fear our real life persona might not hold up the candle to the digital persona we have crafted. And we are constantly in the narcissistic jungle of “how much and how many” virtual beings we have. Whereas taking a "selfie" is an immediacy for gratification, drawing a sketch is losing oneself on the road less traveled, which brings with it unimaginable happiness and satisfaction.
Maybe it is time to recognize that measuring, messaging and living in the digitally archived virtual world is not the real reality. It limits activity, which limits the fecundity of the brain and makes us all lethargic. This virtual existence damages our real connections, isolates us into compartments and groups and cabals that function to self-glorify. It makes for an under-nourished mind, a weaker thought and a “followers” instinct-a drone, rather than a leader’s virtue.
Maybe we should learn to “feel” the touch, “hear” the angst of another being and “see” the wonder in someone’s eyes. And from there gather what is and what needs to be.
Maybe it is time to power down the wearables. Shut the flicker on the screen. Stop looking at the digital world for a response and move into existential reality.
Maybe it is time to say, “FUGGADABOUTIT!”
And maybe it is time to say, “HELLO!”
.....Rather than just write it an be governed by "Morons," Peter Drucker's term for computers.