I love the TV show The Walking Dead. I don’t know what it is about the show that fascinates me. It certainly isn’t the gore and the violence, but the character development, and the lengths that they will go to in order to survive is fascinating. Sure the idea of a zombie apocalypse seems far-fetched, but that doesn’t temper my fascination with the “what would life be like” scenarios.
But as far-fetched as the idea seems, the reality is we’re turning into a society of zombies, controlled by our iPhones. I’ve had this nagging angst over the past few months – I’ve been unable to escape the idea of the level of control we’ve given over to technology. The amount of our social dynamic that we’ve mortgaged to our handheld devices is astounding, and it’s only growing exponentially worse.
There are a handful of articles and videos that have started to address this plague – and it IS a plague. There’s this article that my friend Scotty Smith posted last week, from the Desiring God website. The key statement – we feel like if we’re not obsessively scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, we’re going to miss out. My only regret in the article was that I read it through my Facebook browser.
There’s also this incredibly telling article about how our phones have changed the way we experience a restaurant….
How about this article – where we are actually CALLED iPhone zombies…
There’s this video that is one of the most convicting pieces I’ve watched in a long time….
Then there’s this…
and finally, this…
We’re becoming a society obsessed with “everything else” instead of being fully present in whatever we’re doing. As has been written many times before – we create fictional versions of our lives in order to gain validation and affirmation, instead of seeking after the only one that can offer both. We’ve elevated tweets and status updates to the level of heightened debate that we used to reserve for only the highest-level thinkers.
I went last year with my wife on one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken. Part of why the vacation was so great was that we actually completely disconnected from everything else – social media, work, email, phone… Our destination was one of the most exquisite places we’ve ever been. We spent a week in what we could easily call “paradise.” But we started to notice a disturbing trend. We were watching couples sit at their dinner tables in silence. They had nothing to talk about. There were honeymooners there that were incapable of talking – so they’d pull out their phones and engage with “anything else…”
I was on my Alma Mater’s campus around the first of December last year for a convocation. I was taken aback as I watched class dismiss – and the first thing everyone did in the room was take out their phones. How do these kids create relationships that exist in real life?
I’m struck at how many times I’ll see folks out at dinner on a Friday night, obsessed with “anything else” that might be happening on their phones. What is happening to us? Are we really becoming this zombified?
I want more. I want more for my kids. I want them to grow up learning about the world that really exists, and not what we have put online… and I have to be willing to model that.
So, like I’ve done with most things in my life – I’m going cold turkey, trying to wean myself away from the zombie-esque nature of the smartphone, and the influence it has in taking me away from actual, real life. If it means missing out, i’m ready to miss out. The irony is – as we try not to miss out, we’re missing out on what’s actually going on. If it means not being up on the latest controversial statement from a Facebook friend that got 145 likes, then I’m ready. I THINK though, that it’ll mean being more present in my actual relationships, marriage, and parenting. I THINK that it’ll allow me to fully experience here, and now, instead of “anything else…”