Last semester, while my college class was in the midst of our unit on Technology and Well-Being, the students were practicing mindfulness around how they used their devices. Students were reporting back that they mindlessly, and “for no reason,” found themselves obsessively picking up their phones looking for something; though too often they felt as though they could not name exactly what it was that they were looking for. This left them spending hours and hours checking and scrolling; even though there was nothing they were particularly interested in. Even though they recognized the time that they were wasting, and all of the ways that they were not getting to what they needed to be getting to.
Or more to the point, receiving any satisfaction around what it was that felt as though it just needed to be satisfied.
One student spoke of a remedy she had devised to combat this incessant and unconscious habit. She taped a sticky note to the back of her phone with the words; “Why am I here?” It was not until recently, after recounting this tip to a new class, that the enormity of the enormity of the question really hit me.This was not merely a question posed to help someone pause in order to become more conscious of their choices around technology. Instead, this is the most fundamental, far-reaching, and essential question that any of us can ask of ourselves. Ever.
To choose to make this so visible, so front and center in the day to day, is nothing short of revolutionary in a world gone mad with forgetting the value and the importance of why it is that we are actually here. For in truth, we are talking about nothing less than this when it comes to how we are living our lives; most especially around how we are choosing to use the technologies.
Do you know why you are here? Are you the least bit interested in why you are here? Do you even know you are here at all?
And if you are, why would you ever give that precious knowing and exploration over to a machine? Why would we ever train our children to believe that their net worth, their very reason for being here, is based on what phone they own, what picture they post, or how many levels they have reached?