10/12/11

Technology in our Lives

Lately the news is filled about technology and its impact on our lives and world. We can speculate as to how we humans will grow from our interconnectivity, wonder 'What will be next?,"or worry that our reliance on smart devices will keep us blogged down and interfere with our abilities to think and communicate as humans. 


Emily Listfield, in Parade magazine's Generation Wired, discusses some of the challenges of raising children in this time of "nonstop connectivity." "The latest research suggests it may even be rewiring their brains." Instead of contemplating and forming pathways to remember, our brains are often busy gathering, skimming, copying, and sorting endless information. Brzezinski and Scarborough opine that "unfortunately, technology is short-circuiting our children's imagination." Kids are showing short attention spans, are rarely alone or disconnected, and often addicted to their smart phones, even sleeping with them under their pillows. 


Interestingly, in Martin Lindstrom's recent New York Times article entitled, You Love your iPhone, Literally. he describes what brain studies are revealing about this apparent addiction to iPhones. As expected, subjects using the iPhone show increased audio and visual stimulation, but even stronger activation of the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with love and compassion. When torn away from their iPhone, many exhibit stress, in a way most similar to separation anxiety from loved ones.  
Hopefully the feelings of compassion that rise from our iPhones will help us become more loving to our fellow humans rather than toward our smart devices. In his commencement address to Stanford's Class of 2005, Steve Jobs spoke of love, loss, finding what you believe is great and work that you love. He noted that we only can connect the dots of where we're going when we look backwards from the future. Jobs also talked about death as the best invention of life because it clears out the old and makes way for the new. He encouraged living one's own life and following the heart and intuition, because they always "know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary."
The technological legacy left behind from Steve Jobs, who passed on last week, is inspirational, admirable, and impactful. He was an innovative, passionate, and creative genius, with an invisible crystal ball to see into new product future that changed the world. I find it fascinating, too, that Jobs was adopted, dropped out of college, and had sought enlightenment in India prior to his career. He preferred alternative medicine, was a pescetarian and Buddhist. Though early on described as "temperamental," he grew to mellow and share a wisdom in how to live well. 


If we do what we love, have faith in where we're going, remember our time is limited, and always listen to our heart and intuition, we can each come to live our own highest life. We can apply these messages from Jobs to use technology to lead us forward, unite, and create more of what we want, rather than letting our tech gizmos distract us away from presence and trap us in time and energy wasting ways. Also, we can encourage our children towards more real time interactions, tech-free alone time, non-virtual creative activities, and nature romps. We can re-instill ethics education from early childhood to enable growing hearts and minds to make good choices so they, too, can use technology to create a better world. 


Where can you make more time for your passion in life by unplugging yourself from smart devices? Where do you find technology serves to bring you further in your path?





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