Recently, I have been feeling an aversion to being too connected to technology, specifically internet, WIFI and smartphone. My line of work prevents total disconnection as well as expectations from a social norm of habits. You simply can’t ignore text messages or people think you are ignoring THEM. Some people seem to not be able to disconnect, even in very stimulating environments like nature adventures. They want to capture every photo or it didn’t HAPPEN. I have also had this fear in the face of great momentary beauty, that I will have accept the future of revisiting as a non shareable memory.
I swear in a former life I was a beach hippie. It’s just too easy for me to let my hair get tangled in water and bleached by the sun, allow my clothing to wear against rocks and sand and run around barefoot. I also like not knowing where I am going, I like getting lost on an unfamiliar road. I like frankly seeing my WIFI disconnect from my phone.
I saw a documentary called COBRA GYPSIES last night about the the Kalbeliyas of Northern India. A nomadic people of dancers and musicians, their name means “those who love the snakes”. They are one of the most iconic tribe of the gypsies from the desserts of Rajasthan.
What struck me was not the snake charming and the beautiful green eyes of wild children, but was how connected they seem to each other and nature. Ironically, I would never have discovered them without the internet. At one point in the film, I tried to imagine everyone stopping their dance, or scenic pause or travels or playing with siblings to check a smartphone and it was highly disturbing. I can see how 1 tribal smartphone would be ok – similar to how they seem to share a TV and gather around it. In fact they probably have one but it wasn’t the focus of the doc.
Something I am becoming increasingly aware of, is the false sense of connection that digital media provides people with and how actually, there is nothing more isolating than being alone in your actual environment yet “connecting” with hundreds of people online. A like here, a follow there, a text and favorited tweet. A happy birthday post from someone you can’t even recall you know.
If you give an orphaned baby animals a TV with plenty on it, a radio with soothing music or an old sock – they will cuddle the sock and reject the devices. Why? Humans needs to touch and be touched and a touch pad isn’t going to cut it. Eye contact doesn’t actually work on Skype, there is something that occurs in LIVE eye contact that sends signals of true life human connectivity to the brain. If you ever wondered why the video conference was hard to remember – it’s because it was not REAL,
In an era where people are just going to get more and more connected to WIFI and disconnected from each other, do yourself a favor and take technology breaks. Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone or ringer or put it in airplane mode or hell, leave it at home sometimes!