Thursday, September 09, 2010

It's Cool by the Pool, Right? [COLUMN]

Now is not normal - by Nick van der Leek

Oprah recently revealed an extremely dysfunctional family; all preoccupied with gadgets, all of them living in the same house but not talking to each other, and becoming very isolated as a result.  An Australian lifestyle consultant came to the rescue, and ordered the family to abstain from the following for one week [and in this order of importance]:

- Cellphone ban
- No electrical appliances [no computer, TV, no microwave, no stereo but the refrigerator and stove are excluded]
- Individuals ordered to have meals together, to hug and to say what they genuinely love about the other

The implications of the above is staggering.  I am one of millions of the Facebook Nation.  And we know how much a 'like' or a 'comment' or in the case of Twitter a 'RT', 'reply' or 'follow' means to us.  But all it is is a very fleeting ego stroke.  It's not real.  Neither are movies, music, and the plethora of media channels streaming into our computers, TV's, steros, often plugged with a direct route from ear canal to brains via those white earpieces.

At the same time in local news we hear reports of the obese population expanding [literally] at a staggering rate. [And touche, I happen to be struggling with my weight too].  Why is this?  Because having a car makes us lazy?  Being able to prepare a meal by simply microwaving it, makes us lazy.  By communicating with someone via a handheld device rather than face to face, is lazy.  By preferring the path of least resistance, to ego gratify ourselves with Facebook fans and twitter followers, we bankrupt our social reality, and impoverish our inner dialogue.

The problem is the noise, the clutter of information is such that it has begun to crowd out 'reality'.  It begins to interfere with social scenarios that we choose.  You can see this when you someone is texting or talking in a movie [ruining the experience for themselves and those around them], you can see this when a couple on a date become distracted by calls or a text.  Today the highest compliment you can pay someone is to PAY attention.  To listen 100% without thought of response.

In the same vein, the best possible way to nourish yourself is to substitute all that online and digital activity with real world behaviour.  The number one recommendation is exercise.  Get your body moving out there, in the real world.  Socialise.  Discipline your distractions or you will become a sideshow to your own life.  If you are serious about getting your life back [with all its happiness, abundance and fulfillment], take charge of that cellphone.

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