I was sitting in a Starbucks on a Sunday morning, doing a little work and enjoying a coffee. At the table next to me was a father and son; the boy looked around 8-9 years old. The boy was talking to his father, trying to engage the father in conversation. The father was on his cell phone, busily engaged in some app, game or website. He wasn’t talking on the phone to anyone. The father completely ignored his son. The boy was getting more and more frustrated and saddened by his father’s total attention on the phone.
Many people cannot sit through a 2-hour movie without checking their phones every few minutes.
I’ve witnessed this same scenario dozens and dozens of times over the past few years. Anyone reading this probably has seen this over and over as well. I have observed couples at lunch or dinner ignoring each other while having all their attention on their phones or tablets. Very little if any conversation occurs between many couples as a result. In movie theatres, there is a non-stop barrage of bright cell phone screens lighting up throughout the movie as people cannot keep themselves from checking their messages, texting, etc. Many people cannot sit through a 2-hour movie without checking their phones every few minutes.
More and more, people are becoming totally engaged and absorbed in their private electronic worlds.
This is both a tragedy in the making, as well as a destructive trend in life. All too many people become so absorbed and consumed by their cell phones, tablets, and laptops that they forget about life. I catch myself doing this too, and realized I was becoming addicted to these electronic marvels. I find myself thinking about checking something online while with someone, in the middle of a conversation. This is a genuine addiction and one that is having negative effects on life and society.
Look around and observe for yourself the degree to which people are absorbed with their electronic gadgets. Look at how often someone is being ignored or only listened to partially as a result of attention placed on electronic toys.
Life and business are all about people. People conceive, design and build these technological wonders. People buy them. People use them, both as tools and for entertainment. Technology and technological gadgets are simply tools, tools to serve people. But all too often, we are too easily impressed and absorbed with gadgets and technology and not as interested in other people as we should be. The servant tools are becoming the master attention-sucker.
What is the purpose of any machine, be it a car, a computer, a bulldozer, an oil driller, or a television? The purpose of any machine is to serve people in some way. No matter what machine you can think of, its purpose is to serve people in some form or another. No people = no need for machines. Also, no people means no machines are even thought of, much less designed, built, and operated.
In this day and age of technology, it can be easily lost that people are the most important element in life. People ARE life, in addition to animals and plants. And it is people who are far, far superior, more powerful and more capable than any technology.
After all, who creates technology?