It’s a pretty common sight. Two people looking at a video on a phone and laughing at whatever nonsense they’ve just been watching.
We’ve all done it and I am eternally grateful to the light and easy entertainment that comes from being able to access all this material with such ease I do wonder how it might be affecting me.
There have of course been concerns about this for a long time.
Is it monopolising our attention to the detriment of real life relationships?
Are we outsourcing our capacity to think for ourselves?
Are we turning into people who can only consume and can’t create?
But recently I’ve started to wonder at another consequence which could be even more damaging than those already listed.
When we look at a screen we are directing our attention away from our awareness of ourselves. This is obvious and is one of the reasons that screen use is so addictive- it stops us from feeling anything uncomfortable.
Instead of feeling awkward on a journey we can look at our phone effectively shutting out the external situation.
If we’re bored we can immediately browse the millions of websites, feeds, images and so (ad infinitum).
This is great and so helpful.
Until we find that we are obsessively checking our phones first thing in the morning, last thing at night and at every opportunity in between.
What I’ve been pondering is whether there is something even more serious going on- the destruction of our connection to our inner world.
The thing is that our focus is so constantly being directed to the outer world, and so many of our functions (memory, entertainment, visualising for example) are being outsourced that we risk losing our connection to this inner sanctuary.
You might think this is no big deal. But when we consider that it is from our inner world that a healthy sense of self-worth, satisfaction, purpose, fulfilment and creativity come from- we can see how serious it really is.
We can’t turn back the clock and rid our lives of technology, and nor should we want to. It is an incredible resource.
But when we knowingly or unknowingly have handed all our power to this continual consumption of information from outside of us we are letting ourselves be seduced into disconnecting from the true source of our power- our inner world.