People seem to have abandoned their survival instincts in a trade for a fascination with hand held technology. They are willing to die, to die violently, for the sake of texting. They are even willing to kill others for the same reason. Among fatal car crashes, 25 percent are due to SMS (short message service, aka texting) usage while driving.
If the phone is dropped in the car (OMG!), drivers will bend down while behind the wheel to pick it up, swerve the car off the road, and possibly kill a pedestrian, or another driver and passengers. They’ll pick up their dropped device in the middle of any kind of crush, whether it be cars, humans, or bikes, and not concern themselves with the danger in that. They miss traffic cues — willingly giving up their right to move in traffic and causing other drivers to have to throw on their brakes. In their near immobility, the texting driver blocks traffic, taking away others’ right to move.
Some ride their bikes, skateboards, and Razors looking at their phones instead of watching where they are headed and what they are headed into. Pedestrians stop mid-step in front of an oncoming car, in an intersection, or in front of another person in order to look at their phones, text, or answer a call. They are oblivious to what is going on around them, let alone realize how their behavior is impacting others in their path. They walk across the street using the cross walk, eyes down into a screen, forgetting altogether that they must move at the pace the lights are set. Instead, they make all the cars wait for them as they wander off into their phones.
All it takes is one oncoming car that doesn’t see them, and they’re dead, shattered in the air.
These texting zombies have given up any interest in real engagement with another in-the-flesh human except through a device and a social media page and are happy to call that “connection,” “relating.” Relationship, up front, physical and very personal, which is intrinsic to survival and to human expansion, is now nearly extinct in the next generation.
In my perception, the continuous use of these gadgets and what they offer, have tapped into a complex addiction center in the brain. As profound as the most addictive drugs, technology has people abandoning their natural instincts for survival for the pleasure of looking into the screen of a mobile device to see what cool thing is going to happen next.
Everything, even eating and drinking water, have become an option; but to use a phone-pad in every possible moment, no matter the risk, is mandated by a pathology that is fast becoming pandemic.
Rev. Miriam Lindbeck, ordained spiritual minister, is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara and currently writing several books on human relationships. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.