While technology is by definition not a part of nature, it has become a part of the nature of the life of most individuals in the developed world. Although in my own life my use of technology tends to help me to connect with my family and friends and to meet new people, it also distracts me from noticing possibilities that are directly in my vision and it sometimes impedes me from self-reflection. It is an aid and a hindrance; an opportunity and a crutch. As I experienced the iExamen, my reflections on technology's influence on my life have certainly encouraged me to consider aspects of my life that are lacking in authenticity and also opportunities I am missing, but ultimately I believe that technology is an intrinsic, vital part of my existence.
Technology is inextricably intertwined in my daily life - social, intellectual, and personal. As I wake up every morning, I check my phone and check all my Facebook notifications then my twitter. Then I hurry and get dressed and walk to class while texting and search for information on my phone. I walk outside and do not look what is in front of me because I am so distracted by the text messages that I receive on my phone. I keep refreshing Facebook hoping something new would appear on my home page, giving me a small, narcissistic bounce. I realized that my social life is lackluster because I am absorbed with text messaging and using my laptop to communicate. I noticed that I miss opportunities to speak with people in person because I am too busy checking my text messages or reviewing missed calls that I receive during class. By contrast, I have realized that I do protect my intellectual life from the distractions from technology because I turn everything off during class. As I reflect through this iExamen test, I am somewhat disturbed to realize that my use of, relationships through and relationship with technology contribute substantially to my own sense of self worth.
Technological deprivation is just as disorienting as sleep deprivation - at least for me. On Sunday afternoon, I divested myself of my electronic accoutrements for the iExamen. For this dreadful, hour-long experiment, I went outside and wandered around, admiring the beauty of nature, which I had mostly not noticed before. The juxtaposition of my discomfort with technology's influence on my self-worth with my discovery of how beautiful our campus is encouraged me to contemplate other wonders I may have missed. I noticed that this space, barren of technology, was more peaceful but also less engaging, less frenetic but more idle.
When I returned to using technology I wondering which reality is more illusory. Am I dreaming through social media, or would life be less authentic without all these ways of communicating and connecting? For me, I believe, technological connectivity is natural. When using my technology again, I felt that I had returned to the "real world," and I was eager to reconnect with schedules, events, and updates. If I wanted to take the experiment to the next level, I would spend a weekend in the woods, on my own with my thoughts and nature, but, alas, I suspect Walden Pond is beyond this modern man's capacity.