Every night people all around the world send texts in their sleep.
Our society is delicately balanced on the brink of incredible change. Some people call it the Age of Aquarius. Others point to the end of the Mayan calendar and the predictions about the end of the World.
What I see is the proliferation of the most powerful tools humankind has ever known.
Remote control cars on Mars, MakerBots, video chat, communication networks so powerful they topple dictators. The list goes on.
Which brings us back to sleep texting.
I believe that we are in real danger of becoming slaves to our technology.
In the beginning, it’s awesome to be connected all the time. It’s really wonderful to have access to up-to-the-minute news feeds from your best friends and trusted sources. We are a social animal and knowing what your friends are up to all the time get’s at our need for closeness. The tools we have built are more than fun. They are a revelation with a power and capacity beyond our ancestors wildest dreams.
But at a certain point, the balance tips, and the machines are in control.
I’ll admit that sleep texting is (for now) pretty uncommon. But information addiction is a reality. How many times do you set your phone beside your plate when you sit down to eat? How often are you texting when your kids are asking you a question? How often have you been out with friends and you look up from your drink only to see you friends fingering their phones?
I believe in a future where humanity is in control, and where our skills, talents, and tools can create an abundance for everyone.
I know there are other organizations, like Samovar Tea Lounge, dedicated to helping people live more healthy, meaningful lives and so I want to make a contribution to their projects.
Before you tell me I’m a hypocrite for using Facebook for this, let me clarify. I love technology. The bounty that we have created through imagination, courage, and hard work is astounding. I just hope we develop the awareness and discipline to use these tools wisely.
The Saga of John McAfee
I’m not going to repeat the details of John McAfee’s fall from $100 million tech superstar to Belizean fugitive for murder. You can get the backstory easily enough if you need it.
Suffice it to say that money does not buy happiness.
My friend and blogger Leo Babauta has been challenging readers to Buy Nothing Until 2013, and it got me thinking. What is the most precious we can give anyone?
Hint: It’s not shiny and it doesn’t last for ever.
It’s our attention.
Everyday at our Lounges we see the joy that people experience sitting down with friends and loved ones to be nourished by our healthy food and energizing teas. We see artists and writers disconnected from WiFi and fully immersed in their process. We see business leaders breaking the ice over a cup of Oolong and getting fired up about their next initiative. We see families delighted as they try something new.
But when they leave the Lounges, I start to worry. The “call of the smart phone” is a sweet siren song indeed.
I’ve heard cellphones ring–and get answered–in the middle of an executive meeting. I’ve seen parents ignoring their kids in order to send one more text. I’ve heard of people answer their phone during sex.
I’m guilty of a lot of this myself–though, not the sex example.
So here’s my challenge to you, in 3 steps.
1. Do Less
We speed up to get everything done before we take a vacation. We shop like crazy to buy all the gifts we’ll need. Then we speed around to see everyone we’ve been missing. You get the idea.
So take your holiday to-do list and event calendar, cut it in half, and then cut it in half again. Then fully immerse yourself with what you really want to do with your time.
2. Be Generous
Wealth is not about how much you’ve acquired, but how much you share. There are plenty of causes that could use your support. If not financial, then maybe you can donate an old computer, pair of shoes, or perhaps your time. And don’t just do it for the cause, do it for yourself. Because giving feels good.
3. Inhabit The Present: 24 hr Challenge
For one whole day, I challenge you to shut down all your devices with a screen. TV, laptop, tablet, phone. Everything. 24 hours.
Are you too important to be offline completely for a single day at a time when practically everyone is on vacation?
I know we’ve grown accustomed to these handy devices, but I also know that you guys are incredibly smart, motivated, disciplined and creative. If you choose too, I know that you’ll find a way to disconnect–in order to give yourself fully to the people you care about.
I want to thank you again for being the inspiration that keeps Samovar Tea Lounge alive. Whatever this new age brings, I’m proud to enter into it with you by my side.
You guys rock.
Jesse Jacobs, Founder
Samovar Tea Lounge(tm)