“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” ~Pico Iyer
We all can easily see the “connectivity” that exists through all of our technology. We have the computer and the cell phone. These tools give us access to our friends, family, colleagues and of course access to Twitter, Facebook, various blog sites, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, and the list continues to grow. These devices and networks connect people on a global scale, far exceeding anything before the past decade.
With all of our connection, we also inadvertently have become very dependent and “plugged in” whether we realize it or not. Studies show that when a person forgets his or her cell-phone and suddenly realizes it, whether at work or school or at the grocery store, a sudden anxiety sets in. Some people respond to this anxiety with ease, for others it can become sure panic, and a feeling of helplessness. A remarkable effect of the technology that we rely on more and more every day.
Other independent research suggests that social networks are addictive because of the voyeuristic elements that they contain. They are a window into other lives, other places and many other things. They have the capability of temporarily replacing one’s physical reality with a safer, virtual existence. Some studies suggest this can also lead to mild stages of agoraphobia and social anxiety, or toward more pronounced problems such as complete social withdrawal or the development of predatory qualities. Hopefully it’s not that serious..
But think about this.. Purposely turn off your cell phone and leave the house, or go without turning it on for two days. You may find that you’re pulled to turn it back on within hours or even minutes. You might be afraid that you’re missing something, or maybe you have to be connected because that’s what this technological conditioning has done to you and the rest of western culture.
I find that I must unplug every now and then. I must completely leave my computer and my phone for at least a day or two, just to breathe, just to relax and clear away the noise; to remember that my true connection is within my natural environment. I do this among the natural world and recommend it to anyone feeling stifled by “connectivity.”