E-Views: Switching on and off is our responsibility

Feb. 16, 2011

Ahh, those halcyon days when quality time meant calling the babysitter or grammy to watch over the kids while mommy and daddy went out on a date to gaze into each other's eyes over dinner, only to recall what it was like to be free of responsibility.

Or, sacrificing several appointments on your calendar in order to spend quality time with one of your children since you have five or six of them and can't remember their names; let alone the fact that you've forgotten to engage in real conversation with them.

Some might ask, "Well, with all this communications technology on the rise, we're engaged in constant communication. So, what's the big worry?"

High technology is mesmerizing. It is sensational and attractive. We just can't let it go.

It exercises the sensory portion of our brains that appeals to us as much as staring at fireworks, hearing ocean sounds, smelling bread, tasting sweets or touching bubble wrap.

High technology seems to appeal to all the senses. Are we hedonistic?

As much as we want to believe that high technology will foster connection, we might be gravely wrong. It's the word "connection" that we want to address.

Since we humans seem to favor fast over slow, these connections seem to be much faster (and more abundant) these days. Since our brains are becoming more accustomed to faster, and more, connections, the other brain portions are not being worked.

As Kenzie Yoshimura so aptly states in E-Views (Jan. 19), "The same technology … that allows us to keep up with the world is also what is ironically leading us farther away from the people in it."

As our other brain portions aren't being tweaked, we're forgetting about the countless advantages of slowing down. We're forgetting about quality time again because we're so caught up in all of it that we're forgetting to call the babysitter or grammy or stopping anything in order to take a deep breath.

We're forgetting to tweak a basic need for intimacy; that simple moment it takes to gaze into someone's eyes. That simple second it takes to connect with someone at a deeper level other than sensory.

As technological advances "will only add to the growing void in how we relate to one another," it is our responsibility to realize that we have the power to turn off our sensory switches in order to accommodate our emotional switches.

Now that it's the 21st century, perhaps our quality time can be defined as temporarily nixing all sophisticated equipment in order to be free of responsibility. In order to have more face-to-face time. Now, THAT'S a hot date.

Mary Jane Heppe lives in Hood River. She owns one iPhone and one Mac. "Both are avoided/turned off/not on the table when I want a real conversation."

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