My empty moments with my smartphone

As technology develops more with time and less is left to the imagination, I can’t help but think that we as humans are getting lazier to do the things we have been doing for a long time.

Some say it’s the millianals that have become lazy and that our generation is not motivated for success. However, that is not quite the case, because the same technology that the baby boomers created, have become more than an addiction to us. We have become depended on machines rather than our own intellects.

To our generation, the most treating of technology in the past decade is the smartphone; while it is smart and designed to make our lives easier, it does nothing more than dumb us down and make us dependable on a gadget that has a battery lifespan of not more than a few hours max.

If you want to throw yourself into an experiment – try turning your phone off and leave it at home the next time you go out. If you must have a working phone to receive calls then try it with an older model phone and keep it in your pocket. I promise you this, after 15 minutes you will begin to feel naked start to panic at the notion that you won’t survive the day without having your smartphone.

You actually begin to feel that there is a part of your body missing, like it has been amputated. You come to realise that this machine has become one with your biological self. How is that even possible? That a machine that wasn’t around 10 years ago has managed to wipe out the evolutionary work of self-reliance that has spanned for more than 50 thousand years. (Don’t mind me if I get the years wrong). Has it really become that integrated with ourselves?

The smartphone itself isn’t really smart, it is just a fast machine. Everything that it does, can be done with other separate machines and it was all invented by us humans. The smart phone is nothing more than a super calculator of bits and bytes that we created to make our lives easier- so we want to believe. It can just figure out how much petrol a plane may need to travel 3000 miles faster, we ourselves can do the same mathematics and come up with the correct answer, it just takes a little longer.

Now many may ask, why spend our time calculating when we can spend our time on other things? The problem is that we have become too depended on them, that we actually don’t even try to calculate at all. The effects can be very destructive when we cease to try and just depend on something that operates on batteries.

Some years ago, when I wanted to gain knowledge on a particular subject, I would go and read a book. It might have taken me a couple of days, maybe weeks if the book was boring, but eventually I would have an understanding of what I wanted to know. We don’t do that anymore, well not all of us at least. Nowadays if we want to know about something we just go on Google and type in a specific question e.g. how is a lamp made? We just get the results or maybe even a short clip on YouTube visually explaining it. I only get pieces of the puzzle, never the whole story at once. I still don’t know who came up with the whole idea of creating a lamp, who helped aid its creation, and what was used to create it. Those little details, like how a detective sees a crime scene, gives meaning to a question you wanted to learn its answer to in the first place. Those facts feed our brains, to act, to develop, to create, to understand.

The smartphone minimizes our knowledge of things that should come natural to us in this age. For example mathematical tables; in high school we knew them, we practiced them and we weren’t allowed to use a calculator. Now most of us have forgotten to multiply in our heads, many of us are having a hard time calculating; it’s not that we don’t know them, it’s just that we don’t even try to work them out anymore. We depend on our phones to work it out for us, even if it’s the most simplest of calculation.

Without practice, what we learn will gradually just fade away.
The above are just small examples, more important is the effect on our social skills – our social behaviour. With the growing popularity of social media outlets like, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we are not only getting lazier to collect a larger volume of knowledge but are also distancing ourselves from real society.

Think about when was the last time you made a phone call and really had a chat, instead of talking everything over on Whatsapp. Think about how often you actually ring the doorbell of a friends just to see if they have the time to just take a walk and enjoy time talking and dream about the future ahead. Talk about things that motivates creativity.

Smartphones of course has some good aspects, like connecting you with your family abroad, or your children on vacation or just outside. You can share your journal and photos of the places you have been with the world in an instance. But to have the power to share a thought or some propaganda and spread it throughout the world in a blink of an eye can also be very dangerous.

Our smartphones have made us lazy, almost as if we no longer want to achieve more. We spend more time on refreshing our timeline feed then thinking on possibilities to expand ourselves. We have lost focus on the finer things in life, we are forgetting to live in the present moment.

We have lost our patience, instead of keeping ourselves busy with the tasks at hand, we tend to wait for our photos to get likes and Whatsapp replies by just staring at the screen. Empty moments of our short lives, moments with no memories and values.
Try to depend less on your phones and new found technology. If you want to have a less stressful life, just have a secondary “old phone” and bring that with you from time to time; try to refresh yourself. Next time you need to do a calculation, don’t take out your phone – do it yourself, you can always use pen and paper.

We are all aiming to know and understand this world a little better, so why not pick up a book and engage Read a little, or allot, whichever is best for you. Visit a bookshop and stay at a library for a day, it’ll open more doors for you than your 112 gram of mind pollution. Next time you pick up a friend, go and ring his doorbell, don’t message him to come out.
Your phone doesn’t give you endless possibilities, it should just be a tool to be used with moderation.

Photo: courtesy  of google