As soon as I figured out what was going on, I put my phone away. But that’s when the awkwardness set in. If you want to feel out of place in a public setting these days, just start staring off into space or watching people as they walk by. Do it long enough and someone is liable to walk up and ask you if you’re feeling OK. That’s because we’re so accustomed to seeing people tethered (将……拴到) to their smart phones—it’s the new normal. If you’re not killing time with your face fused to a screen, then you’re the weird one in the room.
Of course, I’m not the first person to notice how technological connectivity is making it easier to disconnect from ourselves and each other in myriad (各种各样的) ways. Late last year, comedian Louis C. K. (美国脱口秀主持人) shared his hatred for cell phones on Conan (美国一档脱口秀节目《柯南秀》), and observed how we use technology these days to distract us from thinking about the depressing aspects of life. As he points out, taking on those thoughts head on is the only way to defuse (化解) them of their explosive potential.
My concern is similar to his, but with a twist. I worry that the more dependent we become on technology to help us pass idle time, the less likely we’ll be to allow our minds to wander in positive ways. It’s already become commonplace for parents to hand their kids an iPhone when they’re restless in the backseat or complaining of boredom. While I recognize the logic-enhancing and hand/eye coordination benefits of video games in young people, I can’t help but wonder how that constant stimulation is taking away opportunities for them to expand their imaginations, creativity, and overall mindfulness.