Set your sanctimonious crap shields to 10
I think the dude should go out with Sherry Turkle for a long walk on the beach to debate the finer points of Middle Age French poetry.
These perspectives are laden with a huge amount of judgmental assumptions of what is going on in when you observe people absorbed in their devices. I experienced this myself a few days ago, out in a restaurant.
At an adjacent table, 3 teen girls and their dad were absorbed in their phones. I noticed Mom glancing out with what seemed like a vacant gaze of helplessness– that I very well be imagining. It’s pretty easy to write a narrative, but we do not know the whole dynamic of their experience. Maybe Mom is feeling at ease with the enjoyment of an earlier moment I did not glance at and judge. Be careful how you frame other people from a 30 second observation.
The guy on the corner could just have easily missed the connection with the girl without his phone. That is how serendipity works. Or maybe while he is out trying to engage strangers in conversations, the phone he left on the table has a surprise message from Steve Spielberg who was forwarded his script but only has the morning to chat before he goes to Sydney.
If Look Up Dude wants to frolic in the leafy park of Pleasantville world, go away already, Hey You Get Off of My Net. I prefer the version where where amazing stories happen facilitated by the dreaded evil life sucking devices.
Vacant numbing interactions can take place with or without technology. And so can the opposite. It is never as simple as these pap videos make it out to be.
The thing is, there are evolving social norms developing in which the conventions of interactions should incorporate, in a way that calls on us to find balance, of the technology and communication in our lives.
Shutting lids and turning off laptops does not alone make us better attentive and caring people. I wonder if the Look Up Dude has every ridden a New York Subway or ridden in an elevator.
But let’s stop these preachy views that doing without (or with) technology in our lives is better. Unless you are ready to go live in a shack in the forest, this is the world we are in. Look Up Dude’s binary fog filtered view of the world does not reflect the complexity or potential of humans, the attitude reduces us to simple states of being that I find not only dumb, judgmental but also insulting.
This pushback on an overly simplistic unrealistic binary view of human / info tech behavior is at the core of a project that has been slowly distilling over months and conversation with Mariana Funes, one about finding the balanced place in the middle.
It may even appear on your phone.