Convenience vs. Seclusion

My daughter enjoys watching aquarium videos while sitting in her swing to relax before her nap. I set her up with the Xbox which lets us play Youtube videos on our TV. Every once in a while an ad will play and I’ll catch part of it while I’m doing housework and whatnot.

This morning they played an ad by CIBC. It was advertising new services such as cashing a cheque using your phone. The slogan was something like: “services that fit your modern lifestyle”.

I began to think about these new services. I have to admit, they are very convenient. I mean, any caregiver or mother or busy person in general (which covers most people) can appreciate the convenience of not having to go to the bank to cash a cheque. It simplifies things and takes one thing off to the to-do list.

But do you know what else it does? It secludes us even more.

Instead of going to the bank, being amongst people, chatting with the teller, we are sitting around on our phones. Like we don’t do that enough. It’s less time being amongst other people, less time interacting with other people, and this has serious consequences for our well-being. We are social creatures, and all this automation is only hurting us in ways we might not even be fully aware of. This presentation by Ben Colson gives many examples of this. Technology impacts our ability to be empathetic, our ability to be inclusive, our ability to be kind, and our ability to be happy.

  • How often do you find yourself frustratingly trying to get a person on the phone when x store doesn’t send you all the parts for your appliance?
  • How about the hurt you feel when you misinterpret a text message which causes a rift between you and a loved one?
  • Do you sit down at the table in the evening and find everyone is too engrossed with their phones to talk about the day?
  • Do you wish someone understood what you were going through sometimes?

Convenience is wonderful, I know. But we are paying a price for it. Our inability to really connect with others can lead to depression and anxiety , and prevent us from feeling happy, fulfilled, and loved. I have to say that despite enjoying the convenience on days where things get hectic, I’m not excited about where technology is taking us. I may be able to chat with my friends on my phone everyday, but if it weakens our face-to-face interactions is it really worth it?

I live a very rich life; not financially, but in terms of blessings. I have a true partner, a healthy child, an amazing home, an awareness that makes things so much more real, and an appreciation for the opportunities I am able to see and take.

If I had to add anything else to that list, it would be to know more people; truly know them and talk about more than just fluff. To be amongst a community, a tribe, to learn and help each other out- like we should. I would wish for less seclusion and more socialization. I would rather work harder to do things with people by my side, than have things be simple and easy yet feel totally alone.

How about you?

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