Happiness and Mobile Phones
Ok, so I can’t help noticing the poor disoriented individuals that are wandering the streets day and night, assiduously tapping on small devices that seem to be attached to their hands.
Has the Mars-landing already happened?
Can you really not enjoy your time on earth while you still can?
Is it really more important to tell the whole world how happy/angry/excited/disappointed (you get it) you are feeling and that you are indeed walking/sitting/dancing/watching a movie (why do I bother) instead of actually enjoying that moment to the fullest?
What value has a moment that has been captured to live forever on the www compared to a moment of pure joy in your life that wasn’t actually lived?
It scares me a bit. Is it the same fear that gripped the generation of my grandparents when the little box appeared in their living room that enabled them to watch men jump on the moon? Or the unthinkable event of humans learning to fly in monstrous contraptions?
When they said things like “Everything was better in the old days”, did they feel overwhelmed and worried what else the future would come up with?
It is truly fascinating what humans have achieved over the past 100 years compared to the 100 years before that. Just what is it all good for? Why is it so important to be better/faster/more efficient at absolutely everything we do? Is it money?
Well in that case you might as well say goodbye to your happiness right now!
Last week a colleague conveyed to me how one of our patients had said to her that he has so much money and so many houses, he doesn’t know what to do with it all. Now in his eighties, what he has worked hard for all his life had become a burden.
He didn’t have any children and only married fairly recently because his life-long work didn’t give him enough time for it. Now he has just spent a few weeks in hospital due to ill health, sitting in a chair next to his bed all day long, muttering curses to himself.
Visitors come at times but he exhaustedly said to me after: “I wish they didn’t come and stay that long. But then I have so much to sort, they have to. I’m glad I brought my suitcase in because I have so much paperwork to deal with.”
So what did all his hard work, all his money, all those houses bring him in the end? Even more stress, more annoyance and the regret that he didn’t get married and have children earlier in life.
“The more you have, the more you have to lose. Happiness is freedom from wanting”.
Well aware that I’m being nostalgic, I can’t help but think back to a time without mobile phones, without internet, where you arranged to meet somewhere and that’s what you did. There was no texting of “will be late” or “sorry can’t make it”.
I somewhat think that we become less reliable because we have the chance to easily opt out without standing someone up entirely. It seems to be okay to not show up as long as you can text 5 minutes in that you actually won’t be coming. Least to mention all those that got dumped via text, threatened by anonymous callers, constantly worry they break their brand new iPhone and never have reception when they really need it.
I have great respect for a friend who claims he has a mobile phone, thought he isn’t entirely sure where it is and blatantly refuses to use it. It can be irritating at times if you want to get hold of him, but then he sais himself that he doesn’t always want to be gotten hold of.
I dread the moment I will be needing a new phone, unless I’m being lurked in with the promise of a free upgrade (evil marketing), because I truly just want a device to make and receive calls from, not a camera (got one thank you), fast internet connection (actually doesn’t work at all cos updates are not updating…), mp3 player (would get one if I needed it) and really, really don’t care about apps, games or any of the other possibilities these mini computes have on offer!
And isn’t it just sad, possibly even selfish, that we nowadays demand of everyone to be a mobile phone call away just in case we need them? And even worse, if they are not answering, we either break into a rage, think they possibly ignore us on purpose or worry that maybe something happened to them?
So tell me again, is this what you understand under happiness?
And however marvellous the internet is in connecting us with someone on the other end of the world, it also at the same time overloads us with information that we can’t always handle. It send us a little loopy to say the least.
We become agitated, feel the need to check our inbox and “social networks” frequently, even if on the loo, just to satisfy the reward centre in our brain which is now continuously longing to be stimulated and create the warm sensation of acceptance in society, to be acknowledged, to sigh with pure joy that someone likes our status or left a comment.
In all honesty. Really?
This is mere idolisation of the term “happiness”, a mere phantasmagoria!
Great word, isn’t it?
It bothers me greatly that people at work don’t just walk the corridors with equally bland expressions on their faces while staring at their little lit display of wonderment but also while sitting behind desks, standing in corners or store rooms and one can’t tell if they are “just checking” on their latest “social updates” or actually researching an altogether important aspect of their work – like one of our newly started junior doctors did the other day.
Am I overanalysing this by saying I think it is rude to ignore other people over a little electronic device that has the power to zap your attention to any part of the world you would like?
But actually, hey you outdated people with your hand-held devices! You are like soo behind! Haven’t you seen those glasses yet that you can check up on all this stuff with the blink of an eye?? That way people won’t even notice that you’re not actually listening!
I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I try to advertise my little business and in this case, the internet is a brilliant way of free advertising, if it wasn’t full of it! It seems that it is full to the brim with advertising without actually reaching those potential clients that would really benefit from my work. Someone recently admitted that the only reason he went back to facebook after deciding he didn’t want to be part of it anymore was, wait for it, his curiosity to catch up with the latest gossip!
One of the reasons I hated sport’s festivals at school was the competition. The internet leaves me feeling similar. I just don’t want to have to compete, needing to claim the most likes, having to be there because everyone is, having to take part to show I exist, needing to be there to not miss out on anything potentially important.
At times I well and truly feel overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities technology has on offer. And then to feel the pressure to having to use it, just to keep up with everyone and everything tips my point of happiness and turns it into sheer desperation and the wish arises inside of me that everyone would simply shut up sometimes. To just leave it be.
To not update my computer when I’m just working on something, to not stream endless and mindless reality shows on TV when I look for proper entertainment, to not send me texts that I might be owed money for an alleged accident I never had, to stop spamming my email account with stuff nobody wants to see, to stop complaining about your allegedly pitiful life on facebook and if you have been out clubbing and end up walking past my window at 3 in the morning pissed, please, for the greater good of humanity, do not sing out loud deliriously nor start a fight with anyone, especially if you are missing a great deal of your clothes!
Imagine the peace 😉