Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.
Two things inspired my looking for an answer to the question I ask in the title. The first happened a while ago when I was browsing through my Facebook feed. I stumbled on a status update of a young relative of mine, claiming that the worst thing to happen would be having no Wi-Fi for a week. My first thought was this:
The second was a commercial where two kids browse through their phones and talk about the perks of having the Amazon Fire Phone. While it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen that commercial pop up on the TV (and thank goodness for that), I still remember one of the kids in the commercial saying “I’ve been on this earth for nine years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.” Which, again, sparked this:
It was quite comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who hated that commercial with a passion. But that does spark the important question that we need to ask: do we depend on technology too much?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt that updating technology has helped us time and time again. Inventors like Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers revolutionized communication and travel, gave us a new way to gather and categorize useful information, and provided a way for writers to exercise their writing abilities via the blog.
But as we’ve created more and more modes of technology, we’ve started using them more and more. I didn’t get my first laptop until I graduated from high school, and now the average preteen has his/her own iPhones to keep him/her entertained. Instead of sending letters, we now use social media to stay in touch with our friends and family. And—as the irritating commercial comprising of two brats showing off their phones to their mothers decided to remind me as I write this—some people fail to see the beauty of the simple things in favor of admiring technology.
This reminds me of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of the Stephen King miniseries Tommyknockers (if you’d like to see that review for yourself, click here. http://blip.tv/nostalgiacritic/nostalgia-critic-the-tommyknockers-5614187 Caution: do not watch if you’re afraid of clowns or psychotic dolls.) In his analysis of the film, the Critic compared the main character’s alcohol addiction to his girlfriend’s reaction to an extra-terrestrial substance. Basically, the substance allowed the girlfriend to invent anything—a typewriter that writes the story while you sleep, for example—as well as read other people’s minds. But in the process, the substance also sucked the life out of her and caused her to deteriorate mentally and physically. And the more she went at it, the more she couldn’t stop. In his final thoughts on the film, the Critic noted how this movie discusses substances that could, as he put it, “increase your productivity while also increasing your dependency.”
And in many regards, that’s how I see us with technology. We’ve grown so used to updating it that we can’t stop. A lot of stories taking place in futuristic worlds show America as either a desolate wasteland or a place where everything runs on electricity. Considering the fact that each year brings updated computers and phones, it seems like we’re so determined to get there at any cost.
So, if we can agree that as a society we are addicted to technology, and if we can agree that this addiction can cause problems, what can we as a society do to fix it? Like I said before, technology has been harmful as well as helpful. It’s helped us learn and grow as well as deteriorate and waste our lives away. With that said, the best solution I can find to this part of the daily life is to find a good balance. Relearn how to appreciate life without technology, but still using it in those parts of life that need it, such as work or—in my case—writing. Instead of a Sunday afternoon watching TV, why not a Sunday afternoon of cross country skiing? Instead of email or social media, why not go back to phone calls or handwritten letters (Hey, handwritten letters may be old-fashioned, but some people still appreciate the effort put into them)? And the list goes on. Whatever we choose to do from this point on, I hope we don’t forget how good it can be to put the laptop away, even for a moment, in favor of appreciating life as much as we appreciate technology.
Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”