Thursday, March 22, 2012

Are You Experiencing Your Life or Just Recording It?

In this PLPT guest post, Pastor/Professor Lawrence Ware asks the question: "What if we cared less about showing others what we have experienced and cared more about experiencing it?"

I was at an OKC Thunder game the other day, and I noticed the strangest thing.

Very rarely would people actually look at the game—they were busy looking at the game through the lens of their phones or they were busy updating Facebook statuses about being at the game while very rarely enjoying the experience of being at the game.

Man, that was a three line sentence—the philosopher in me took over—let me see if I can break that down.

I noticed people tagging themselves at the game, and then commenting on the tag. I noticed people posting pictures about the game. I noticed people texting other people about BEING at the game. I noticed people videotaping the game. I noticed people taking pictures and then showing those pictures to other people who were looking at what was just photographed.

All this got me to thinking. In a nutshell: we have become primarily recorders of our lives instead of people who experience our lives. Think about it: we take pictures of food before eating. We take pictures of events instead of experiencing events. We meet famous people, and we are more concerned with taking a picture for other people to see than giving them our attention so that we will remember how they made us feel.

No, I’m not anti-technology, but I am pro-life. That is, let’s put down the electronic mediums that allow us to relive experiences in the future, and try to start enjoying what is happening to us at the moment.

What if we cared less about showing others what we have experienced and cared more about experiencing it? What a revolutionary thought.


Lawrence Ware is lecturing professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and Pastor of Christian Education at Prospect Church. He writes for Tikkun and Religion Dispatchers all while living in Oklahoma City with his wife and sons.


jessj said...

I 100% agree! I noticed this with friends. We're out to eat and everyone is on their phones and I'm wondering why we are even bothering to be together physically when we're not connecting. I hope moving forward people remember the importance of being where you are, in those moments.

Kim Jackson said...

You speak about this topic alot on your blog, Jess. I can recall one post where you spoke about noticing that you don't take as many pictures as you did in college, and you realized it was because you were more concerned with being present. I definitely struggle with this--especially with managing and promoting blogs, and having social media as a part of my job. There's a feeling of not wanting to miss an opportunity to brand or to connect online. But I endeavor to do better with it as well and be sure I am connecting offline.

MerelyMarie said...

I think about this all the time! Quite the Catch-22, for professional bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Jess, I feel the same way you do. Dinners with friends consist of plats of food and phones sitting out, as if they're additional utensils that require a place setting. I'm talking to a friend and she's reading someone's status updates or tweeting herself. It's frustrating that technology has diverted our attention from what matters most- human interaction.

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