Richard Restak and Alexandra Samuel both examine the role of technology in our lives. Restak argues in “Attention Deficit” that the pressure to quickly process information and rapidly shift our attention from one activity to another is causing “a devaluation of the depth and quality of our relationships” (416). However, in “‘Plug In Better’: A Manifesto,” Samuel sees technology as a means of addressing the challenges of modern life, and offers strategies for using technology to achieve a more mindful and fulfilled existence.
Using ideas from Restak and Samuel, consider how technology is changing our relationship to the people and places around us. Does it keep us from living “in the moment,” or does it change how we experience the moments and events in our lives? How does technology affect our happiness and contentment with our lives?
Questions for Exploration
How important is “unplugging” to setting boundaries between ourselves and the digital world, and are such boundaries even possible? Where do we draw the line between our online and offline lives? Can there be a middle-ground? To what extent is technology the source of our problems, and to what extent does it serve as a scapegoat?
Technology is the most universally identified and favoured subject in the world. With people using technology every time everywhere, technology has become a part of our daily life. The most prominent and impactful aspect of technology is that it has gained the interest and claimed a huge part of our daily social life. Today people are always plugged into the devices that bring the world closer to us. All the barriers of physical distance and time are bypassed with the help of the gadgets and devices that has taken life to an online world. Although the online world is called virtual life, it is the place where the maximum attendance is gained. Every moment, every second thousand of people are logged into their devices and communicating in the virtual world about their real life stories. Hence, a rising concern is noticed among the conscious folks about the need to plug in.
Technology has overpowered the normal real life. Time is consumed by technology at an increasing pace, and hence, people find the urge to unplug and pay attention to the little eccentricities of life. The article on unplugging defines the basics of the need and urge to unplug. After the boom of the social media, there has been an increase in the time spent in the online world. People started carrying their mobile handsets everywhere and even in a room full of people, the thumb kept busy scrolling through the latest news and gossips. A lack of intimacy, loss of real and practical life, obsession with the maintaining an online social status quo, has resulted in losing touch with oneself.
Technology has thus changed the way of living and how we perceive life. Every daily process is now based on some technological application and required to update in a social media platform. From the toothbrush a person buys to the goodnight selfies. People feel the need to use technology. Thus, as life becomes a labyrinth of online social existence and practical real life, the relationship and communication changes between people. Social gatherings are preoccupied with people debating on the latest tweets, or engagement is needed to be announced in Facebook at first. Thus, although people seem to have started living in the moment, the flavour and charm is lost. It is very tedious to keep pace with the three screens and hence, the mind is jeopardised with the pressure to keep up.
Technology is both a necessity and luxury in today's life. Thus, it is required that it should be used in a very harmonious way. But technology has created quite many social restrictions and an urge to achieve higher social degrees of life. Technology is increasingly being used as an opportunity to show off one's abilities, social standards and victories. For example, people post pictures and images on social media sites to showcase their happening life. If the required number of likes and interests are not maintained, the discontentment in life. Thus, it is seen that people receive pleasure by promoting their personal life through the use of technology and media. The relationships are redefined by the number of shares and like. Even social boycott or rivalry has found ways of expression through the technological aspect. Hence, technology has encouraged leading a normal life. The three screens have dominated our senses and thought the process and even influences the day to day decision making Samuel, Alexandra. Thus, it could be said that technology does not keep us from living in the moment but proves as a distractions or projects a glossy photocopy of life as it is. It is hence, essential that an effective balance and harmony is maintained between the urge of social degree and the urge to enjoy the experiences of real life.
Samuel also describes how the people have found a new way of unplugging and eventually coming back to reality. People switch off phones and logging out of the sites and spending few days outside the scope of information and technology seemed to bring respite to the fast and tedious online life.
Although it is also noticed that people cannot get rid of the online and tech-savvy life. The amount of information that is available within seconds, the viability of the excitement and opportunities at the tip of the fingers are the reason that attracts people to stay plugged in for hours. It is noticed that even after a short term of unplugging, people find a reenergized urge to log back in. Thus within a few days they will return to the same situation. Hence, it is observed by Samuel that unplugging is not possible and is not convenient at all. Thus, a few reasons have been sighted that shows why unplugging temporarily is required, to construct a well-maintained balance between the online and the offline segment of the life. Thus, the unplugging should not be done from the devices but the aspects that define constrict the balance and create a gap.
First unplugging should be done from the distraction so that life is enjoyed and not even a single moment is wasted in the depths of technical existence. Information is essential for daily sustenance of life, and hence, it is important that the optimized attention is given to every aspect of life so that no crucial information is lost. Unplugging from the Fear of Missing out on a daily dose of online information or activity is necessary to decrease the fatigue of a tech-savvy life. Also, it is essential that social discontentment is regarded as a normal part of life. To connect with the people in our life and to ensure the most relationships, it is required that significant attention is provided to the people and technology is given a second priority. Again, information overload is another reason that has fatigued the people from the continuous use of technology. Finally, people find the need to unplug to avoid the shallowness of existence that the tech based life projects.
But while one plugs away they are ridden with the guilt of missing out. They also seem to come back to the old regime as soon as they plug back. Also, it is noticed that daily everyday activity becomes much more complicated and time-consuming with the absence of technology. Hence, Restak and Samuel finds a need for "Better plug in Method" to bridge the gap between online and offline existence. The digital world provides us with new scope and horizon for personal and external development. It would be most foolish and useless to miss out the vast load of information and opportunities that are present in the online world. But, it is important to limit the usage and set some quality boundary between the digital world and our regular life.
It is difficult to draw a line between our digital self and normal life, as it is impossible today to put a single foot forward without the help of technology. As innovation and life become faster paced, it is becoming increasingly hard to demarcate the entities of digital and the real world. At this juncture, the world will come to a standstill without the presence of technology and the three screens of television, computer and mobile. It is important that selective priority and attention is provided to each of the screen and real life. Since, living a digitally void life is impossible, it is important that a balance is maintained between the two aspects of modern life.
Hence, one should segregate time for each activity of life. Attention must be paid one at a time, and both the world should be balanced according to the immediate priority to regain balance and achieve a middle ground. Although, many people are of the idea that technology is the reason for high expectancy from life, and it puts a fake coloured glass vision inform of our eyes, it can be said that technology is merely used as a scapegoat to escape our shortcomings.
Every problem, is it social discontentment or fake showcase of life, have its roots in the depth of human mind. Technology is only a platform that serves a different purpose for different people. It is important that the problems that one faces must be paid significant attention so as to assess the roots of it and solve it sooner. It is often a negative publicity that has some hidden agenda theta propagates the ill effect of the online world. A person with a clear conscience would find quality time to indulge in social frivolity or get hooked into the digital escapades. Technology can never be blamed for the extensive and overuse of it by humans. As every aspect of life develops, technology will also continue to grow and encompass every direction of our life. As technology is manmade, hence man would also find a way to bring technology and life together for far greater aspects. Hence, technology is the opportunity that will help man to lead a more sustainable, exciting and efficient life, which will enhance with time.
Samuel, Alexandra. ''Plug In Better': A Manifesto'. The Atlantic. N.p., 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Samuel, Alexandra. ''Plug In Better': A Manifesto'. The Atlantic. N.p., 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
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