Here and Now..

How many windows do you have open right now, as you’re reading this? Are you also glancing at your messenger, is your phone nearby in case someone messages or calls you, is your email open – checking the server every 32 seconds for any new messages? We fill each day with much more than we ever could before. Technology allows us to be always connected, available, active. Always on. And this technology fights for space in your mind. Consistently and Constantly.

Every minute of the day, we straddle different worlds simultaneously. We could be at a play one evening, yet we are also simultaneously a phone call away from work. We’re out for dinner with a group of friends, but only an sms away from another friend who’s halfway around the world. Each evening we spend equal time with everyone who’s online on Gtalk or MSN in equally meaningless conversations. You ask a girlfriend how her life is, and before you hear her answer (or see it) you’re responding to a classmate’s query on tomorrow’s coursework.

I was out for coffee with a friend a few days ago. While I was talking rather animatedly about something, he was drawn away by a phone call from his friend. I was left mid-sentence with my hands waving in the air. Rather than wait while he finished his conversation, I picked up my phone and continued an sms conversation I’d been having with a girlfriend, who was still at work.

So this is where we are. An interconnected web of people who are each in multiple places at once through the miracle of technology. Everywhere but Here and Now. Because to be both here and now and available 100% would amount to being a total loser! In this day and age, how could you not have something better to do all the time?

This, then, is what we yearn for – something better. Which is why our phones are turned on and set to vibrate in our shirt pockets, so that we can be reachable 24/7 just in case Something happens. We leave our blackberries on in the theatre, our messengers on from the minute we step inside the house, and compulsively check our email ever so often.

The inherent message is, whatever I’m doing right now is too far beneath me for me to devote myself to it one hundred percent. I am merely here for the lack of anything better to do.

After all, we’d never want to spend time with anyone who’d want to spend time with us.

Technology helps us in this. It allows us to go to several places all at once and what’s more, get there very very fast.

We run to our fast cars ( the very latest model ) so that we can zip out the driveway just in time to sit idly for an hour while cursing the traffic. We yell at the person at the counter to “Hurry up already” so that we can grab lunch and head back to the office where we can stare persistently at the screen at the report, willing it to edit itself, all the while clicking ‘Send/Receive’ in Outlook roughly twice a minute.

We hustle and bustle through our lives, losing context in the search for speed and filling it instead with ‘buzz’. A meaningless, white, snow-like noise is taking over our lives until we’re too busy to think. Our collective attention span has dropped to new lows. If something takes longer than 30 seconds, too late!, we’ve already moved on.

After all, imagine, if you had a full thirty minutes to sit and think! What if, horror of horrors, you realized that you didn’t have anything of importance to say anyway?

Now imagine if you didn’t check your email for a day, or a week? What if (and this is what we secretly dread!) the world doesn’t fall apart. What would we do then?

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16 Comments

  • i swear! amazin! uve put in words wht every1s been thinkin off!

    nd im still in school.. that too!!

    u kno…
    Sms nd Email nd msngr is leading the world to talk only with their fingerss … (k mayb the brain works ther too once in a while)

    but y rnt we speakkinng>>?? (speaking as in opening the mouth and makin ur larynx vibrate)

  • you said it !
    the count of the no. of windows open currently is – well, too many !

    And viola,it seems we can be at two or more places at the same time.
    but is it necessarily a good thing ? yet to find out!

  • great post!!reallt true as well. We are so caught up in being connected always!The refresh of your mail box…so true..we are almost on the border on getting addicted to technology!I guess we are already there maybe.
    Just came across your blog from FSN’s page..

  • No. of windows open: 1

    Mobile phone: switched off for the last 3 days

    Email: Check roughly every hour

    Meesengers: around 3 people I chat with daily. Roughly 2 hours.

    DBabble: addicted

    Than God I am a bit of a technophobe!

    Only symptom of the syndrome u mentioned- I hate talking to people when I can communicate through emails, messages(not sms) etc. Well on second thaughts that is a different syndrome
    🙂

  • Compeletly identify with what your saying…but have you tried turning off your laptop, mobile phone, or any other device that connects you to the world, including the morning newspaper? Try it…it is a mind blowing experience.

    After staying connected to the world 24/7 for more than 5 years, with great difficulty i managed to muster the courage to do exactly that for one whole week. The range of emotions I went thru during that one week was amazing. It began with frustration, to withdrawal symptoms to feeling total loss of control to finally RIP.

  • Harried, Dbab is so addictive and I can totally relate to the feeling of preferring to talk to someone over msgr than on the phone.

    I usually prefer it, because I can switch off at anytime, do something else as well, and excuse myself whenever. But in a phone conversation I must be 100% engaged. What a sad state of affairs!

  • okay!! i just finished reading all your blog entries right from april 2004 to this one at one go..:) thats not to say that i am jobless but i really enjoyed reading every bit.i am already a fan :).
    PS:and yeah if u do find time pls blog abt CAT and ur prep for it..i noticed u somehow always sidestepped writing abt CAT,wonder why??

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