I know I’ve lost track–and you probably have, too–of how many times somebody said, “Put down your phone, and interact with people in real life.”
Whenever I hear that warning, I try to imagine what it was like 150 years ago, when telephones were becoming popular. Did the older generation resist the change and wag fingers at the youth for not sending telegraphs?
Did they lecture each other about how lazy and disrespectful it is to make phone calls, rather than jumping on a boat and sailing for two weeks, so they could give important news to their loved ones in person, the proper way?
“Or at least compose a hand-written letter, Johnny! This telephone thing isn’t REAL LIFE!”
“Put it down!”
Seriously, what in the world do we mean by “real life?”
Because, if I may get a bit philosophical for a moment, most of my readers believe (or at least claim to believe) that WE are more than just our bodies. We are bubbles of consciousness, often called “souls,” who simply use these bodies to pass through material life.
We claim to believe that MATTER, i.e. the physical stuff, is NOT “real life.”
Not only that, but let me also mention that many Astrophysicists believe the Universe itself behaves more like a mind than a machine. In other words, everything we usually think of as “real life”–such as stars and planets and trees and grass and even other people/souls–seem to be about as “solid” and “real” as a thought or dream.
(If you want to read the nerdy Forbes magazine on the subject, click here. I found it while on my phone one day, apparently avoiding “real life!”)
So what’s my point?
Well, my point is it doesn’t make sense to scold humans for connecting with eachother in whatever ways the Universe allows them to connect.
Just because they’re interacting with eachother differently than they did 150 years ago doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or “not real”) now.
There are more than 3 billion people using the internet these days–which, to my mind, makes Facebook the biggest mission field on the planet.
Humans plug into the Matrix every day, reading/learning and communicating with each other, and they will keep doing it no matter how often we write blog posts about how they should stop reading our blog and go take their dog for a walk.
We can complain that we hate the Matrix and wish everyone would put down their phone so they can hug a tree “in real life.”
But try to understand the tree is part of The Matrix, too.
….eh, maybe I totally lost everyone with that last point. And it’s okay if this is a new idea.
Ultimately, I’m just trying to make a request of my fellow humans to please, please broaden your concept of what “real life” looks like…
Wherever souls are, that’s where we should be: connecting, interacting, and seeking truth together.
Whether you prefer phone calls or emails…whether you prefer coffee dates or hand-written letters, none of them are more legitimate (“real”) forms of human interaction than others. It is our sacred duty to nudge each other toward Truth, while we spin on this tiny, temporary globe together, no matter which form of communication we use.
P.S. The title of this post is a reference to “David After Dentist,” the hilarious video that went viral several years ago–and all of us saw while scrolling on our phones. If, by some misfortune, you don’t know what I’m talking about, please do NOT put down your phone and return to “real life,” because you need to Google it. Go now.