Sunday, May 02, 2010

Reading, Texting, and Mindfulness

When I go to the park nobody is reading anymore.  It used to be that you would see people reading under trees, or parents reading to their  children.  Now everyone is talking on the cell phone while they are in the park.  I went into Barnes & Noble to get a copy of the Paris Review and there were two people outside smoking as they were texting on cell phones. Are they more addicted to cigarettes or their cell phones?  As a matter of fact companion texting, texting while somebody else is with you, is probably our number one social interaction besides, well,... texting.  Have our lives become defined by that little screen?  Probably.

47 percent of teens can text with their eyes closed.  Fact.  And, I bet less than 17 percent can diagram a sentence.  Texting is replacing talking.

I went to a meeting the other day and there was an executive setting there texting through the whole thing.  Then a colleague tells me they go to a board meeting and there is someone there with not one, but two, phones texting throughout the meeting.

See a movie?  Cell phones.  Somebody is running or cycling?  They are listening to music with those ear buds blocking out the world.We are not content to read, smoke, run, drive, or do any of life's little tasks which define us as human without a distraction.  We have to be doing something else.  Do people text while having sex?  Apparently so.  Scroll down to the comments:  Weird Texting Moments from Womens Health Magazine:  The interesting thing is not so much that the women sent a text to her mom during sex but that she read it in the first place.

By the way, we are still a long way from understanding the social or even health consequences of cell phones. Here is an interesting article from GQ magazine:

Here are some more things to think about:
"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers." Thich Nhat Hanh

So, turn off that cell phone and read Peace in Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, or the newspaper, or really talk and listen to someone for a change, or maybe even do nothing.  Whatever you do, please don't text me.  I will not text back.


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Jan said...

Hey, you may see me looking intently at my Palm Trea thinking I'm texting. But I'm not! I'm really reading "War And Peace". Really. - check it out!

Jan said...

I meant Palm Treo, not Palm Trea. I don't think we have those here.