The Silence We’ve Lost

It is interesting when I contemplate how different life must have been even just a few decades ago. I wonder how it would have felt to be alive before technology took this strangle hold on society. I am lucky enough to have a few years of childhood memories devoid of computers and the internet and smart phones. It is hard for me to really discern the impact these things have had on my life though. I was just a child back then and certainly a lot would have changed by now regardless of the influence of technology.

However, the more I learn about the miraculous power of silence and stillness through meditation, the more I mourn the loss of those things in daily life. I wonder who I could have been if I had been born in my parents’ generation or my grandparents’. If only it was easier to have moments devoid of mindless distractions.

I would love to see if there have been any studies to show the effect these modern conveniences have had on the collective consciousness of our society. We no longer have any time to reflect or daydream. Never a moment of true boredom for our own minds to fill. There is always some escape, something to watch or listen to or read.

On the surface this seems like just another benefit of our technological age. But I truly fear what we have lost as a result of this. I feel certain studies would show that this shift has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on mental health. I’ve read that even in this era of virtual connection, people are feeling more alone and isolated than ever before. The connections and conversations we have online seem to be shallow and not hold the same weight as real life interactions.

I desperately want to free myself from these electronic chains, but it seems impossible. No longer using Facebook has definitely made me feel less angry and stressed from day to day, but it has also been very socially isolating. I no longer know what is going on in my community and with the people I once knew. I also feel that I am drifting through life more unseen than ever now. A ghost on the outskirts.

As a child I used to watch way too much TV, but it can’t even compare to the way I am now glued to YouTube and Netflix nearly every moment of the day. I feel panicky at the idea of even an hour of complete silence without at least something playing in the background of whatever I may be doing. Even when I am out and about, I usually need to have music playing. A few years ago I attempted to limit my media consumption, but failed miserably and promptly gave up my half-hearted efforts all together.

It is just too easy to avoid myself, my life, with these convenient distractions. The moments of silence and even boredom that we have lost use to be the catalyst for so many wonderful things. There are no longer any empty spaces for inspiration and creativity to fill. There isn’t time anymore for anyone to truly know themselves. And all of this makes me very worried and very sad.

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