Yeah, that’s me. Enjoying three of my favorite things – kites, beaches and sunsets. Maybe it’s because of my childhood, but I love flying kites. Where I grew up, kite season always starts near my birthday, so as a kid that was pretty significant. The beach and the sunset are the perfect setting – a feast for the senses and the imagination. There’s a reason that relaxation music often incorporates the sounds of the ocean. And if you watch a sunset to its full conclusion, you’ll see every color imaginable.
I don’t have a lot of time to fly a kite these days, but that evening at the beach reminded me of some of the important things. The simple act of putting the phone down, not worrying that everything is charged and not stopping to check my latest notifications was energizing. My career revolves around the creative process but even if you work outside of a “creative field,” an innovative thought process is important to what you do. One of the greatest individual and cultural assets that we are losing to the technology onslaught is the ability (and desire) to think independently and creatively. We are so consumed with what others are saying, doing and posting that we forget the ideas we once had. We don’t follow our dreams because we lose them in the mélange of what other people tell us is important. What we were going to do has been replaced by following and foolishly liking what other people are doing—or what they claim to be doing.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#104f21″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. —Isaac Asimov[/mks_pullquote]
I heard a woman reminiscing about the days when she could simply watch the clouds and talk about the shapes she saw in them. In mid-thought she pulled out her phone, glanced at it and frowned as she returned to the conversation. I wanted to say, “Hey! The clouds are still there.”
Read this blog long enough and I tell you what’s wrong with the world. One piece to that puzzle is certainly that we have allowed technology to get out of place. Classical authors are fond of stories where robots and computers take over the world. They pen tales of overt and force-driven coups that subject humans to the controlling will of a self-aware mechanical master—but those writers miss the mark. Technology is taking over, but not in the fashion that Isaac Asimov envisioned. We barely notice that as technology advances, we become desperately addicted to mediocrity. Technology enables us to become strangled by the fear of missing out on the ramblings of others, while our own lives ooze out around the edges of a mere existence. And we no longer seek knowledge, safe in the misconception that we can always “Google it.”
Don’t misunderstand me or think my words to be disingenuous. I am a technophile. I love technology and the accomplishments it enables. I grew up in a time when TV was three black-&-white channels if you got the antennae adjusted right; so computers, smart phones and email drew me in with hurricane force. But I have recovered enough to put the iPad down and walk away periodically. We all need to do that and I’d argue the survival of our culture depends on it.
So what’s the solution? Go fly a kite.