Sunday Walking Street- people receiving massages whilst staring at their phones.
A challenging finding for me during the past 4 months in both China & now Thailand, is witnessing just how far & wide smart phones have gone in affecting human relationships. Restaurants are FULL of couples staring at their machines & not at each other. In China they drive their silent E-bikes & text/video call/watch programmes. Shop assistants are glued to them, crowded buses vibe silently as necks hunch over their personal electronic glows & even monks meditate to them; yes, this is true too. These have been my daily experiences, not one offs.
Friends, lovers & family members choose their devises over the company of their dearest & honestly, it angers & saddens me. It gives me a sense of bereavement; a loss for the connections I could be forming or stories/ experiences we could be sharing. Don't misunderstand me, smart phones definitely have their uses, I'm using one now & I'm grateful for it! But surely not at the expense of genuine human connection or being present to the moment?! Surely machines should compliment & add to our lives & not take over them?? On the rare occasion when I meet others who prefer to engage with 3D people, we make eye contact & give each other relieved smiles; we've actually been seen & acknowledged.
I've lived the flip side here too; the difference between a phone filled & phone less environment is precious; it's a vibrant & energy filled reality. Buses bursting with old people nattering & laughing away after their morning market trips, generations of families sitting together, helping each other & connecting (for better or for worse!) & priceless moments shared with kindred spirited strangers. I've been blessed to meet special people whom I've spent hours talking together about everything & anything. And each time, I've walked away re-energised, recharged, happier & feeling very much alive. But it's not easy to connect if others prefer their apps. I'm aware that change is inevitable & that we cant go back but I do hope we can move forward with an awareness & respect for our own individual & each other's human needs too. #useyoursmartphonessmartly