People use their handheld gadgetries at any dull moment.
Five minutes to spare waiting for the metro? Time to check your e-mail on your iPhone.
Ten minute ride to your next metro stop? Play a game on that iPhone.
Eight minute walk to your destination? Better check your text messages along the way. Driving in your car, bored, nothing on the radio? You can call anyone using your Bluetooth and chat away ‘til you arrive.
Get to the restaurant a little bit early? Thank goodness you have an iPhone! Now you can read a Buzzfeed listicle or two and avoid purveying the scene of humanity or, heaven forbid, having to interact with someone.
Oh and don’t forget to document every instance of what you’re doing. And upload it to Facebook. And Tweet about it. And share it on your Instagram. It’s not as though the general public has their own lives to live and enjoy. They must take part in yours, too.
People use their phones as a crutch in times of boredom and awkwardness. I understand, kind of. Awkward moments are painful for everyone involved. And if people want to pretend to be absorbed in their phones for the 35 second elevator ride, so be it.
But I notice even in times of common silence, where no communication is expected (waiting in line in stores, at the doctor’s office, waiting for transportation, etc.), people go to their phones to fill the void. The connection to pop culture and constant communication with others blocks out natural thought, reflection, and would-be conversation with God.
Warren Cole Smith, co-author of Prodigal Press, Confronting the Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media, spoke at the Heritage Foundation earlier this week about how the constant inundation of current events and pop culture “erodes our ability to think deeply.” Not only does the constant saturation of media bias influence how we may view society, he says, but we may also run the risk of “amusing ourselves to death.”
Silence is sacred. And its dying. As is experience of the world around us. We are never content just to be, to think thoughts, and let them take us where they naturally should. We have phones for that. They keep us occupied constantly so our minds don’t have to be, and they even answer questions for us, making our discerning minds and souls as passé as flip phones.
Teresa Mull is the managing editor of Human Events.