Category Archives: Technology

Getting past the distraction of modern life

distraction of modern life

My grandmother, Mom and Aunt (twins) in the Bronx circa 1940′s. One of my favorite pictures ever.

Looking through old photographs of my mom and grandparents living in New York City in the 1950’s and beyond, I always become mesmerized by them. I like to imagine a time when life was so much more raw, simple and in-the-moment. Their neighborhood was clean, brick walls, with maybe a tasteful hand-painted advertisement on the side of one building per block–you wouldn’t even recognize that it was a city according to today’s standards.

I try to imagine being in those photographs; things were very hard then in a lot of ways, but they weren’t as complicated. People were so much more engaged, with family and friends integrated into their lives, they didn’t have therapists to talk to, they were surrounded by a support system–the way things really should be. Now, as I live in a building where I don’t even know any of my neighbors, it’s such a strange new dynamic.

distraction of modern life

Grandpa with pet horses (In the Bronx!)

The older generation left the house knowing where to go and when to meet someone, there was a commitment to be upfront. Today you leave the house with your head half screwed on and realizing that it’s ok, you can figure out where you’re going on your phone and text the person with up-to-the-minute details of how late you’re going to be.

Our lives now are all distraction from the life in front of us, we’re rarely in the moment; it’s actually difficult to be in the moment. Even if you were to take a day off of technology, the distraction finds a way. Notice the advertisements in front of you–visual pollution–everything is competing for your attention. I’ve noticed there are advertisements even on the bars of subway turnstiles.

distraction of modern life

My mom and aunt (twins). Who would know that they’re in NYC?

Now a simple walk in the street is even a distraction, we’re updating our Facebooks and Twitters with our findings, if we have people over the house, we’re sure to broadcast it onto the internet instead of just enjoying our company.

It’s so easy to become distracted, our whole lives can easily be given up to distraction if we let them. The challenge is to catch yourself in the act and keep life in moderation.

The Internet has put us in The Age of Truth, pros and cons

Because of technology and the Internet, we’re living in the age of truth. With technology, everything is exposed; the Internet is a resource where anything we want to know about is literally at our fingertips. We’re now seeing every aspect of almost any given subject in its entirety. Nothing much is a secret anymore, all it takes is a statement on a high-traffic blog or a social networking site and it can easily and casually become common knowledge. A politician is running for office, all it can take is someone to drudge up a video of him in a not-so-nice light and his career is potentially diminished.

Some classify this time as The Age of Aquarius, which means an awakening in humanity when things are exposed for what they really are. I link this as a result of the Internet. It’s hard not to notice how different life is now as opposed to what it was even 15 years ago and how this new way of life isn’t going anywhere (and even if it was, our lives are changed for good).

We live in a time that’s completely different from any other age in history. Kids are being born using technology and having it so engrained in their lives, they don’t know any other way. This is good as it is bad. It’s bringing us together and it’s isolating us at the same time. People are finding what they need but are engaging less in the lives in front of them. Through blogging, social media and Internet dating, people are finding other people they wouldn’t necessarily meet in their own lives, which is good but we’re becoming dependent on it. We’re pinpointing specifics and requiring more specific things instead of accepting the whole.

As I’ve stated before, the Internet is a very powerful tool, we must learn to use it as one and not abuse its power. It’s never been easier to impact so many people at once, we need to take advantage of that.

 

“These kids these days” and “that Internet”

I’m by no means an old timer, but I keep finding myself thinking like one seeing the transition of my generation (early Gen Y) to the youth of today. Seeing “these kids” on the streets mades me really have no desire to have kids of my own (among other reasons). As you can figure out from my last statement, I don’t have children. I do, however, have lots of friends and family who do and I see what’s different about raising them now as opposed to my generation and beyond.

Kids are growing up with the Internet and technology so engrained in their lives, they don’t know any different way. They’re fully accustomed to being over-stimulated and their brains constantly on overdrive, that they’re just geared different than any other generation. Remember high school and how overwhelming it was? Well, now add a smart phone and social media–that’s the life of a current teen (and younger!). Remember the cliques in high school? Now imagine it more defined by who is Facebook friends with whom and how much you can see and tell about a classmate online before even having to talk to them. Parents who care, have to really keep on what their kids are doing, they don’t even have full control unless they’re over their shoulder every step of the way. I’ve heard mind-blowing stories from teacher-friends who have to deal with it daily.

The Internet affects every part of our lives, even things we don’t consider. Life is more complex than it ever was and it’s exponentially getting more so. The generations before the Internet boom had cliques, but they were simpler, things were more centralized. If, for example, music split a group, there was a group that listened to heavy metal, there was a group that listened to rap, and another that were into jazz. Everything has become so branched out, there are so many subcategories within subcategories that once again, it’s leading to isolation. We are–and especially kids are–faced with too many options.

I feel fortunate to be born in a time to see life before the Internet through the transition of what it is today. My generation is technically the last generation that wasn’t born and raised as being totally dependent on technology. It’s an overwhelming time we live in; we’re bombarded with information everywhere we go.

We don’t realize how powerful of a tool this is and since it’s such a casual part of our lives, its power is abused.

Video games and violence… notice a correlation?

video games and violenceViolence is becoming the status quo in our lifetime, we turn on The News and it’s all violence. Unfortunately, drama sells. Being that I’m in the last generation to see life before the internet boom, I remember how modest video games started out, and I’ve seen somewhat of the transition to what it is now (although I haven’t played a video game since I was about 12 years old).

A few months ago, I was with some family visiting my oldest brother. He had to run out and asked us to watch the kids a bit. My little nephew, who, in my opinion (and I’m not alone here), naturally has a mean streak, showed me his new video game, which was him with a machine gun in a corporate office gunning down executives, not only that, but each shot a graphic blood bath.

My jaw dropped when I saw this. My sister and I couldn’t believe it. We asked him “Do Mommy and Daddy know you play this game?” and he said yes. Now, I’m not one to tell people how to live their lives or tell them how to parent because I know from past experience who is going to listen to me and who is not. The bigger problem is that this is a microcosm, which is shining light on the macrocosm. These kids are playing these intensely violent video games with not even a reaction as to what’s going on in them. Violence becomes the norm, and especially now, when kids are born with media and endless entertainment intertwined in their lives, this is a major problem. Instead of running around outdoors and getting stuff out of their system, they’re getting wound up and excited while sitting still. Video games are not a release.