Nature unites us, even in the digital age. Natural events like 2017’s solar eclipse may occasionally remind us that there are more important events out there than the technological trivialities that we’ve accidentally become addicted to as technojunkie zombies. We will probably still process this information through digital lenses, either through photography or interacting with others abroad, though is that really that bad? Shouldn’t we embrace tools that enable us to experience life more vivaciously?
An interesting thing happened to me after a recent float tank session.
Prior to entering the sensory deprivation chamber filled with water, epsom salts, and devoid of external stimuli, I would frequently check my smartphone. It was my sidearm. I’d photograph my reality through its lense. I’d tell my friends and the world about this or that. It would organize/control my life.
I had accidentally become a zombie to technology.
Even 2.5 hours away from technology can help to re-calibrate your perspective. My smartphone has, at least for now, returned to being a tool rather than an augmentation. I’m not chained to it when I go row and I was never addicted enough to be affected by the distracted driving laws.
This solar eclipse for me was more about camaraderie than technology.
Sure, we took photographs of the moon passing in front of the sun. Sure, we weren’t able to get a better vantage point outside. So in some way, we were still chained to the tools that had been created to enable us in certain ways and restrict us in others.
There was still that same level of disconnect as the tank and driving.
For a few minutes, we forgot that we are pretending to be sophisticated by dressing up and going to a location to do activities. We reconnected with our more primal beings. The primitive creatures we’ve abandoned that would observe such natural phenomena with fear or excitement instead of following routine.
That rekindling lingered for hours.
In an age where we’re more connected to technology than ever, occasionally it’s good to disconnect. We are, after all, becoming disconnected from nature. If we continue down this purely digital path, we may forget about these momentous occasions, as well as the more common phenomena we take for granted.
Sunrises, the sun kissing the trees and the waters, and sunsets.
Moments like these in nature are often less exciting than their digital counterparts. Receiving messages, playing a videogame that activates the reward centers of our brains, and sending out messages. These are emitted in unworldly colors from devices that burn our eyes more subtly from screens than our own sun.
So what should we do?
I don’t think it’s responsible to fully disregard technology. We live in a society that values bright flashes of orange as pervasive notifications that you should draw your attention away from what you’re currently working on to tend to something else. So rejecting technology wholeheartedly would only be statistically disadvantageous.
Let’s use technology as tools and nature as our canvas.