Get Off Your Smart Phone: The Disadvantages to Shutting Out the Present
Stephen Coscia is an intern at Big Think. He is currently studying History at Boston College and is working towards minors in both Asian Studies and Faith, Peace, and Justice. A strong writer, Stephen works closely with the editorial staff.
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It has become all too common to walk down a busy city street and see the majority of pedestrians glued to their phones and inattentive to the world surrounding them. This observation was made by Diane Ackerman, an opinion writer for the New York Times. There are many benefits to having access to these 'portals,' but they come at a cost. Perhaps the disadvantages that this new technology puts society at outweigh any good it has brought. In not experiencing the world with our own senses we are missing, "all its messy, majestic, riotous detail." Without ever knowing this aspect of the place we live not only does life lack color, but it becomes more difficult to navigate. Exploring the world through our own senses is a way of learning. When a surgeon makes the first incision in a procedure he or she knows that moment, because of the burst of a wild array of smells and other sensations, that the person being operated on is a real human and thus needs to be treated with the upmost care. Our senses are too important to forget.
What's the Big Idea?
As a society we have fallen into the unfortunate trend of being constantly, "missing in action," involved completely in whatever technology lies before us. It is a shame that schools don't teach students to be active in the present. A partial solution to the problem is to spend a few minutes each day paying close attention to one facet of the world. In knowing that facet in a more intimate way we can start to move towards becoming a people who are better in touch with their surroundings and so more knowledgeable about how to lead our own lives.
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