Arianna Huffington made an interesting comment on Real Time With Bill Maher this week that echoed something I had been giving a lot of thought to lately. All the hype around the launch of the iWatch left her wondering what Steve Jobs would have thought about Apple’s latest release of something “we didn’t know we needed“.
In an earlier blog posting (Feeling uninspired, take a nap) I championed the merits of down-time. Experience has proven that we get our best ideas and think more creatively during periods of idleness or quiet time. Our brains need time to recharge and Steve Jobs recognized this by meditating regularly. He credited his Zen time for being responsible for clearing the way for his best ideas. We have to wonder what his reaction would be to his company’s release of a 24/7 gadget that you strap to your wrist to ensure that you’re absolutely never out of touch. Huffington went on to say that apparently many people actually text while having sex. While I could never claim to be talented or dexterous enough to accomplish that feat, those who can will delight in the hands-free benefits of the iWatch.
I have a cell phone which I rarely use and I venture to say my life is as full and rewarding as those who are on a smartphone drip. I bought the cheapest plan available and will never in my lifetime use all the minutes I’ve accumulated. It completely baffles me why people have to be constantly texting or talking in the course of their everyday activities.
I don’t hesitate to ask friends to put their iPhones away during lunch or dinner. It annoys the hell out of me that people treat their smartphones as life-lines, afraid their hearts will stop beating if they aren’t immediately aware of what their son/daughter/husband/wife/grandchild is thinking or doing every minute of the day. And don’t get me started on driving while texting or holding a smartphone.
No one can deny the many benefits of having smartphones and I acknowledge that. However, the constant buzz and busyness of 24/7 electronic communication must surely be robbing humanity of that vital Zen time we all need to function as healthy beings. When I see people walking while texting or talking on cell phones, I can’t help feeling sad that they’re missing the sound of the birds, feeling snowflakes on their eyelashes, enjoying deep breaths of fresh air, marvelling at the stunning contrast of colours between green treetops and blue sky or simply daydreaming.
Do we really need to know our heartbeat or how many calories we’re burning every minute of the day? Even Stephen Jobs, with his obsessive Asperger’s-like behaviours, allowed time in his schedule to disconnect. And Arianna Huffington has written a book about the subject, “Thrive “. Are we becoming a society of zombies enslaved by our electronic devices as if they were life itself? Sadly and tragically, the answer is yes. But I’ve chosen to opt-out and I really don’t think I’m missing a thing.