I recently went to go see a movie (something I very rarely do), and I didn’t bring my cell phone in with me. I then went to lunch, and again, left my phone in the car. For some reason, this freaked people out.
My friend: “Where’s your cell phone?”
Me: “In the car.”
My friend: “Why don’t you have it with you?”
Me: “Because I’m having lunch. I want to relax.”
My cell phone is even off now as I’m sitting here in my office. I don’t understand why so many of you folks can’t do without them. According to a survey, more than half of Americans would rather give up chocolate, alcohol and/or caffeine than their cell phone. A third of you would rather give up sex. Over 20 percent of you would do without your toothbrush, and if you’re an iPhone user, that percentage doubles (well, I suppose it is good you’re talking into a phone because nobody’s going to want to smell your breath!). In addition, 21 percent of you would go without shoes before separating from your cell phone. Two-thirds of you even sleep with your phone by your side.
When it comes to being able to access the Internet, the insanity level is the same. Forty percent of you feel lonely and 53 percent of you feel deprived if you can’t get on the Internet. I guess if you live your life through Facebook rather than face-to-face, that makes sense. One participant in the survey said that unplugging was akin to having their hands chopped off. Another stated, “The emptiness overwhelmed me,” and yet another described feeling incomplete.
I can only say one thing: This is scary!
I remember in one of the original Star Trek episodes, there was this group of people who had ceased being corporeal. They were essentially just thought waves, and they had no need for sex or farming. All interpersonal interaction was gone. It was very interesting to them to see how humans interacted with each other because they had bodies. This is what we’re becoming. A lot of you see technology as a way to keep in touch, but in my opinion, you are all becoming more and more distant. You are only engaged in virtual relationships as opposed to real connections.
Here are a couple little things you can do to unplug and start having healthier relationships:
Schedule some periods of time where you are inaccessible and nobody can reach you. No texts, no emails…nothing. Nobody can access you. You can even make them short at first. You’ll probably feel anxious and maybe even depressed from being disconnected, but guess what? Your life will not implode! It’ll be good for you – just think of all the time you could be spending seeing a friend or doing a hobby while you’re not plugged in.
Pick a day where you don’t touch your email or your cell phone. Just one day. It could be Saturday, Sunday, your “day of rest,” Shabbos…whatever. Pick a day.
Or, if you think that’s impossible, how about this? Set intervals for when you check your email, or don’t check your email before a certain time. You can use an autoresponder explaining that you can be reached any time on your cell phone. At least your cell phone is voice-to-voice.
Try to get some humanity back in your life.
Do you crave your technology? Take this quiz. If you can’t get to the end of it without texting, you probably already know your diagnosis.