Back in 1999, I bought a Palm Pilot* and enthusiastically spent the weekend configuring it (I was still working as an engineer and liked geeking out on that kind of stuff.) The next week, I went to see “The Matrix,” got totally freaked out about computers controlling my mind, and promptly returned the Palm Pilot and went back to my paper planner!
While I am less of a Luddite now, I am still wary of the impact technology has on humanity. Specifically, I have been noticing how my smartphone has been insidiously creeping into virtually every aspect of my life. This concern came to a head when I found myself aimlessly picking up my phone and then asking myself why I was holding it in the first place. It had become the first thing I reached for when I woke up, and the last thing I touched before going to bed.
Not surprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google want it that way: “These companies are caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior.” This quote comes from a website that I have found to be very helpful in positively changing the way I interface with technology, so that I use it to enhance my life, rather than being used by it to increase profits for big tech companies. The site is: humanetech.com, and its stated intention is “Reversing the digital attention crisis and realigning technology with humanity’s best interests,” a lofty but noble endeavor. There is a section with simple changes to live more intentionally with your devices right now. I’d love to know what you think of it.
Also, on a logistical note, I am honored to have been invited to assist the upcoming Somatic Experiencing training happening in Berkeley, and will be out of the office from the afternoon of Thursday, March 1st through Monday March 5th, returning to the office on Tuesday morning. So, if you are planning to come in for a session next week, you may want to schedule soon to ensure that you find a spot.
Joe Curcio, L. Ac., SEP, MTOM
*For you youngsters out there who haven’t heard of the Palm Pilot, they are “personal digital assistants” and predecessor to the smartphone.