Is This Real Life?!

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.

10 thoughts on “Is This Real Life?!

  1. Lisa V

    I see your point. The internet is just a tool, and like any other tool it can be misused. I only go from my personal experience. When my kids are on their devices for too long they become irritable, cranky, and we misinterpret one another’s words “in real life.” I also know from personal experience that locking yourself inside and staying on your devices can cause loneliness and depression. Human contact is important, if not vital. I think it’s all about balance.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for reading, Lisa! I totally agree the human contact is vital. Actually, my point is that interacting with people online is just as valid as interacting with them in the same physical room.

      Watching cat movies alone can be isolating. But watching those movies and interacting with others in the comment section is a connection.

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  2. Jasmine Ruigrok

    “Wherever souls are, that’s where we should be: connecting, interacting, and seeking truth together.”

    Love this sentence, and I agree with your whole premise. The difference however, is why you’re using these forms of connection. Old ladies used to wreck people’s lives with excessive gossip when telephones were invented. Not cool. We can be fake and competitive with our lives online in order to one-up others. Also not cool.

    If we are using these tools in order to edify one another and make “real” connections, then no. Don’t put your phone down, use it for the glory of God. But if all you’re doing is building a shrine to yourself, maybe you should take a hike where there’s no cell service.

    But then again, you’ll find jerks in real life without phones too.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Very good points!
      There are jerks EVERYWHERE. And I’m personally capable of being a jerk ANYWHERE.

      I’m just tired of being told there are certain conversations which are “inappropriate” for social media PURELY because it’s social media. I realize it’s usually just an excuse.. Someone doesn’t like the topic, so they say the problem is the location. 🙂

      I call foul.

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  3. Randy Epps

    Amanda, this is one of my favorites. I am a bit hypocritical about this myself. “I’m using my phone for ministry,” I say, but, I get a bit incensed when I see a kid using his phone instead of immersing himself in “real life.” Honestly, it IS another form of connection to the real world.

    Thank you.

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  4. insanitybytes22

    Hmm. Kind of interesting, I blog “biology” for a lot of reasons, one being that we are biological creatures, meaning “real life” requires some physical and spiritual contact. It’s kind of like the difference between watching church on TV and actually attending a church. Or the difference between actually living with your spouse or just texting them. We are losing something valuable in our techie world that we don’t even understand. Something happens in the spiritual realm when two people come into physical contact with one another that is vital and necessary. Of course, I “blog” about it which is somewhat ironic. 🙂

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      I’m not trying to say that physical interaction has NO value…

      But you have to understand that “touch” is NOT my love language. (And this is an understantement.) 🙂

      My husband and I got to know each other via instant messenger, fifteen years ago. He fell in love with my way with words–which is a HUGE part of who I am.

      I’ve read before about soliders who would get letters from a random girl back home, and then they would write back and forth throughout the war. They would come home and immediately get married, even though they hadn’t “met” physically until just then. I totally get that, and think it’s beautiful!

      Also…I think the vast majority of Christians are going to the same building every week to “watch church” on stage, and then pile in their cars to go home. But that might be trailing into another long topic. lol.

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      1. insanitybytes22

        LOL! Touch is not your love language? Good point. But I think you’ve “touched” on some interesting philosophical questions, like what is “real?” What is the nature of consciousness? Obviously there is an essence to us that is recognizable in our words, it comes across loud and clear. People can also live in physical proximity and not know one another at all. Those are the kind of questions we are pondering with the idea of artificial intelligence transhumanism.

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