Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Freefall of Disconnecting

Technology allows us to do things every day that our grandparents never dreamed of.  Our phones, our computers, each give us access to information, people and entertainment.  We manage our finances, our health and our education with tools run by technology.  But what happens when that technology fails us temporarily?

Anyone who has lived with technological advances for several years or so understands the Disconnect that we feel when our perceived lifeline has been severed. We wander around behaving as if we were lost and confused.  There is even a level of panic that arises in us as we try to recall a time without our connection.  And that is what it is, a connection.

For at least an hour after the Disconnect, our minds race to list the thousands of things we wanted to use our connection for and during this Disconnect, we feel our souls knot up in complete disarray.

There is little doubt that technology has become the platform for our daily existence.  But seriously, is the Disconnect a bad thing?  Seriously?

Within the last year, my computer was down for an entire week while I waited on parts to arrive.  It was probably the most productive week I've had in a long time. Curiously,  I watched everyone in the house saddle up to their machine and each made sure not to make eye contact with the odd man out lest they might be asked to share their machine for some online time.  How technology has changed us.

The personal relationship with a computer is most fascinating and at times disturbing especially when the Disconnect occurs.  This intimate relationship with a machine, woven like fabric into the hours of our day, can negate isolation and even loneliness.   We go to it for answers, we go to it for information, we go to it for a way to pass time and to socialize.  We are indeed integrated with technology and our machines.

There are many different scenarios which could leave us without the machines we depend on today.  Concerning as that notion might be, what we have to remember is that on our way to today, we had centuries of yesterdays.  Each yesterday was lived richly and fully, most without technological conveniences.

Perhaps we should embrace the temporary Disconnect when it occurs.  It is an opportunity for us to explore our lives with less distraction and more perspective.  Our hands can do more than type, our eyes more than stare at a monitor. 

How sad it is that we must be forced into the Disconnect in order to learn the valuable lessons of it's absence.  The Disconnect must occur before we can see what we did before we became connected.  We really were OK, we really were just fine.

As I'm writing this, My Son is enduring the Disconnect. It's only temporary.  I'm trying my best to teach him about life before a computer, before instant access to everything, before constant information, before Googling was a verb.

In a bizarre twist of fate, I also find my self not wanting to make too much eye contact with him.  Oh, how technology has changed us.

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