Tag Archive | "overstimulation"

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

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Life can be overwhelming.  It relentlessly pursues even those who attempt to hide from it.  Today, life encompasses an aggregation of personal, professional, social, and familial commitments.  And, given the impact of technology, life moves at an ever-increasing pace.


Symbolic of this fact is the earbud and its omnipresence.  Go into any crowded public place, and I am certain that you will see that a significant percentage of those present have this appendage firmly affixed to their ears.  Some people, I imagine, only remove their earbuds to sleep or shower – and then, with great reluctance.


You see, the earbud is a reflection of a new and dramatically higher level of connectedness that we experience today.  Cellular phones, text messaging, instant messaging, and email, to name just a few, offer us easy access to networks providing virtually instantaneous communications.  Global positioning system (GPS) technology allows us to find intended destinations as well as track people and property.

 

Previous generations had none of these capabilities and, if presented with the opportunity to utilize such technology, may have considered it unnecessarily intrusive.  Life, prior to the Information Age, had the same personal, professional, social, and familial components, but each part of one’s life was significantly more distinct from the others.  When someone was working, he or she was not shopping or making personal travel arrangements online or instant messaging friends.  Likewise, when an individual was traveling or recreating with family and friends, he likely did not receive incessant messages from his place of employment or from other friends or acquaintances.


Connectedness has its price.  And, that price is paid in interruptions and, to a degree, losses of freedom, privacy, and effectiveness.  Interestingly, while technology advances in scope and complexity, Mankind remains largely the same.  We can only effectively focus on “one thing at a time,” no matter how fleeting that time.  Those who believe that they can multitask are largely deceiving themselves.  As the number of tasks to be performed simultaneously increases, the concentration on any particular task decreases and, frequently, the quality suffers.  Unlike a computer, Man cannot truly multitask.  He can merely spend small increments of time on individual tasks, rotating his focus and time spent until all the tasks are completed.


And so, when overwhelmed with life, we are left with two viable solutions.  If the issues which inundate us are matters of importance, we should first prioritize them and then, beginning with the most important issue, focus our attentions and steadfastly work through each issue to resolution.  But, if our feelings of powerlessness are based upon the increased chatter and noise produced by living a “connected” life, we should “disconnect” from our networks for a time and hearken back to a day when life was simpler and less stressful. 


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