“Why is Go Goa Gone a zombie movie? And come to think of it, why the hell is Brad Pitt doing a zombie movie?! ? Why? I hate zombies!”
“Relax, we are going to see a zombie apocalypse soon anyway.”
Those pearls of wisdom from the husband got me thinking – aren’t we, in a way, already seeing a zombification of society?
Traditionally, a zombie is an animated corpse resurrected by mystical means, such as witchcraft. The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. (Wikipedia)
Look around you – at the mall, in the garden, on the road – and you’ll find people walking around with their nose buried in their smartphone. Chances are they’re either Tweeting or Facebooking or texting.
In the midst of all of this social media – where, admit it, you’re projecting your life, not living it – where is your “real” social life? You know, the one with family and friends.
Oh, you meet every week for drinks and dinner? Then do this little experiment:
The next time you’re out, just take a look at your own table, or heck, even at the people around you. Most of them will have their smartphone out, BBMing or Whatsapping or updating status messages while trying to hold a conversation with their dinner mates. C’mon, admit it – you do it too. I know I do.
Plus, any time I find myself alone anywhere – in the car, at the mall, the coffee shop, wherever – out comes my smartphone. It’s like I hide from the people around me behind that tiny 4 inch screen.
Instead of expanding, my life has contracted.
Instead of observing, I’m obsessing – over the hand I was dealt in Solitaire or my latest Facebook update (why has no one liked my brilliantly funny status update yet? Why!?).
Instead of connecting with people around me, I’m a voyeur of people’s online projections.
But this is not what I signed up for.
I used to laugh at people needing to “unplug” to live life. (And really, how does doing that for a week or a month help, when you’re back at it like you never left?) And again, life has reminded me not to laugh at others, because I may soon be part of the group I was laughing at.
So am I going to “unplug” to live my life? No.
Am I going to delete all my social media accounts and throw myself into living? No.
Am I going to throw away my shiny beautiful iPhone and switch to a non-smart phone? No.
What I have done is to choose to live as part of the connected world and remain connected – but with more awareness of what I am doing and why.
I’ve limited my online time to a few blocks of 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day, and when I find myself alone, I (mostly) resist hiding behind that shiny 4 inch screen and instead observe people around me. Or read a book, which is much more desirable (and fun) than playing endless rounds of Angry Birds.
It may not be easy to resist the temptation of obsessively checking Facebook or Twitter to see if my latest brainwave was liked or retweeted, or to give in to the lure of those Angry Birds, but it isn’t that hard either. All it requires is a little bit of self-discipline and a desire to truly live life.
I’ve reclaimed my power to un-zombify myself.