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Is my smart phone making me dumber?

Hello, is anybody home?

Every now and then I'll hear a podcast that rings so true I'll find myself talking back to it. Such was the case recently when on his weekly podcast Chris Kresser was explaining how the Internet is rewiring our brains and shared his perspective on an important yet often overlooked issue that touches so many of us.

In short:

This is an unprecedented time. There's never been a time in human history when we've had that kind of disconnection from self and as much exposure to this kind of stuff as we have now. And my idea is that it's having a significant effect.

I feel this myself; maybe you do too.

Ever since Chris' podcast I've been wanting to write a little about the complex nature of the Internet and its impact on my own life, particularly: In my poor management of precious free time and in my struggle to focus my concentration on a long book (I've been reading Moby Dick for a year!).

It seems fitting then that this post has taken me 6 weeks to complete because I squander too much of my time reading and writing short, easy, instantly "rewarding" things online, usually using my iPhone. For me and probably many of you the Internet has become a vortex that pulls me in and turns minutes of "harmless diversion" into hours lost forever doing God knows what.

It's surely no coincidence that my last post was about how tired I was and my desire to prioritize sleep. When I'm on my phone reading or writing (or on the computer, like now), it's my sleep that suffers most as I attempt either to make up for time lost by staying up later or am drawn "into the vortex" at night. Turning off the smart phone, tablet, and computer to relax - whether it's to read, sleep, meditate, or look out the window on the train - is a hard habit to develop. Yet more and more it feels essential.

When I think of the happiest moments of my life, when I am most aware of my blessings and the beauty of the world around me, technology is never involved. I'm in nature, stimulated only yet thoroughly by the energy coursing through my body, the wind and sun against my skin, and the sounds of birds and rustling leaves. The border between "me" and "everything around me" blurs and my problems seem so small.

It's not hard to feel this while hiking in Grand Canyon or strolling through a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Yet this experience is available right here in my city - and in yours - when I pull my nose away from my gadget, put away my headphones, and simply pay attention to my environment as I move through my day. Technology, handy as it is, can keep us from seeing, appreciating, and especially experiencing what is actually happening in our real lives right here and now.

Here goes nothing...!

My pledge: No gadgets while walking, when I want to read, or after 9pm, until my next post.
Care to join me?

xo Danielle

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2 Responses to Is my smart phone making me dumber?

  1. I do-- I ame across your post after typing in a search for "is my smart phone making me dumber?"
    LOL...I thought it would be ironic to actually search for the question!
    Anyway, I've shared your thoughts many times over. Some days, I end the day drained by the useless wastes time toggling between sites, apps, etc. some time ago my husband and I spent almost a year vagabonding... I thank God we didn't have these phones and that FB didn't exist. Otherwise I wonder how many minutes of our precious trip we would have wasted in cyberspace.
    I'm going to join you. No phone while driving, eating, lounging, walking, etc. in fact, no FB for 2 weeks. I don't think I'll miss much ;)
    Nice writing

  2. It's hard to believe this is what society has become. I couldn't agree more with the quote about our disconnection with one's self. It makes me sad to be watching my kids at their swimming lessons & I'll look over at the next seat at a parent with their face buried in their phone while their child swims by not being watched. That's a wasted moment that will never happen again. What message does that send to that child...that they're a lower priority? How many wonderful things & precious moments are passed by due to this compulsion? I hope that despite society, I'm able to instil a respect & appreciation for the environment around them rather than the screen in front of their face.



Hi! I'm Danielle

I'm Danielle Bartholomew and this is my blog!

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