What does it mean to feel connected?
For most Canadians, I don't think it involves living without a smartphone for 3 months. At the onset of my internship I was using my HTC Aspire, but then my charger broke. I probably could have found another one to replace it, but I didn't. I hadn't even thought of any kind of neat experiment when I started my 3 month hiatus from the world of smartphones, it just kind of happened. Which is weird, because If you read my blog then you know that I love technology. Having the Internet at my fingertips is my bliss, and you know what gets me on hopped up on that good shit? My smartphone. They have everything you need to be a functional being in today's modern society (emphasis on function), and it all comes wrapped in a nice little package. (Now includes the soundtrack to your life, order now!)
Seriously, just the design qualities of different smartphones are enough to get me half chubbed. But then they add the ability to connect near instantly to Facebook, Reddit, Gmail, and the awe inspiring search power of Google, and now I'm popping out of my trousers. (Because I'm so stoked that I'm jumping out of my pants, not popping a boner, you perv.) Smartphones have become an integrated part of our bodies that we've installed to increase our memory, to help communicate our thoughts, and to learn about the many worlds around us. They're so good that asking someone to give up their smartphone in this day and age is equivalent to asking said person to give you a hand...by chopping it off of course. Well, having lived without a hand for a few months, I’d like to share some perspectives with you. First, I'm still totally in love with smartphones. I just ordered my new Nexus 5, and I am already looking forward to feeling it's smooth curves caress my hands. But let me tell you, it's not that bad living without a smartphone. (He said semi-sarcastically.)
It's really not that bad! During my time in Ghana I’ve spent many hours waiting at bus stations watching all the people around me live their lives because I wasn't able to browse Reddit instead. 6 hour wait? Not that bad. Or I've found myself in a new city with no built-in GPS and no clue where to go, and found my way around by asking people for help. I'd often find interesting places on the way, and would have a fun time exploring. Putting aside my smartphone allowed me to experience these situations in novel ways that changed the way my brain thought about them. To put it simply, I accepted the reality I was presented with at any moment and I lived it. I lessened my control over the present, and it was exhilarating in ways that Candy Crush can never be. (But maybe some day...) So what is connection? It appears to be the result of a choice we make as to the way we approach life. Much like the way we approach communication (well exactly like the way we approach communication seeing as how they're both the transmission of signals), it's the manifestation of our desire to focus our minds either internally or externally, on love or on fear, on peace or on conflict, on acceptance or on control; the hyperbolic dualities could go on...And it's healthy to change up the way we experience life from time to time. This unintended experiment taught me that it's okay to loosen my grip on my reality, to lessen the expectations I hold of the world around me. I discovered new ways of being, along with a personal strength to persevere that I had neglected. I think this is getting a bit closer to that whole enlightenment thing that everyone's talking about these days.