AUGUST 2023 – In a world with limitless opportunities for distraction and diversions from reality, it seems ever more frequent that the pull is back to the ‘real world’. To escape the realm of screens, endless content feeds, instant gratification, and dopamine hits. Perhaps the paradigm is in need of a shift. A life of greater authenticity is out there, but it can be difficult to reclaim your time and attention from devices. To spend more time engaging with reality brings so many benefits and creates memories that the cyclical loop of funny clips can never match. I bet if I were to chart my own hours spent in front of a screen for work, relaxation, news, and connecting with family and friends… it would be a horrific number.
Disconnected is not the goal though, is it? I don’t think so, we still want to be part of it all, in touch with our friends and family, sharing our digital lives. But I think the more time we spend online, in front of screens, the more we lose touch with reality. And it leads to over-valuing emotions and not recognizing the actual state of things. To focusing our attention on things that are of little consequences towards the larger pull of human flourishing.
If we make a point to look up from our screens, to see what is actually going on around us, (especially with those nearest and dearest to us) it will open up a greater connection with reality. And through that connection allow us to be more the drivers of our own lives and to recognize what is really valuable and what isn’t. Reclaim your life, your attention, and what you give your time to. You won’t regret it.
In the spirit of challenging myself and my assumptions, this month I read ‘Apocalypse Never’ by Michael Shellenberger. The book is about how good intentions can interfere with positive growth and human flourishing. How shortsightedness and a lack of system dynamic assessment of issues can feed attention and efforts into methodology that sounds good, but has terrible consequences and second order effects. Reading this title definitely broadened my thinking on energy and the environment and what human flourishing entails. And ultimately how human efforts to protect nature and the environment can sadly not go as intended. Well worth the read if you have the stomach to have some of your sacred cows questioned. But I think it is important to reflect on who we are and what we’re doing if we ever truly want to grow, evolve, and become fully realized.