The other night I was watching the film “Contact” (That Jodie Foster film from 1997.. Have you seen it?)
The concept is based on a Carl Sagan novel.. that by listening for frequencies from the stars, we may be able to receive signals from another intelligence.
The most poignant part of the film for me was actually a short scene where larry king is interviewing Matthew McCo about his new book “losing faith”.
In response to the question “Are you anti-science or anti-technology?”
Matthew says “. No im not. But are we any happier. Is the world fundamentally a better place because of technology?”
This struck me cold.
This film was produced 20 YEARS ago.. and clearly the answer to that question is a dramatic NO. I look back to 20 years ago and think how much simpler and happier it seemed to be back them. Of course – back then it didn’t seem that way. It seemed wildly busy (and I didn’t even have kids back then -what on earth was I doing with my time?)
The analogy can be summed up like this: I didn’t have a phone at university (can you imagine that now?!) – I missed a lot of parties – but I didn’t know about them – and in fact I have so many happy memories of that time. (One time we played “Kick start by riding our bikes in the front room – and trying to cycle over the sofa – this makes me smile. Funnily enough – I have little memory of
This “missing out anxiety” is being scaled up to communities and nations and the world as a whole. Through a global web of video transmission – Nations get to compare and see what everyone else has – jostling for more and more stuff.
There is more anxiety and depression than ever before. The NHS is preparing for a major increase in Mental Health issues ranging from depression to high anxiety. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 young people in the UK now have a mental health issue.
My physio told me just how many more teenagers she now sees to work on their necks for looking at iphones all day.
Last year a fully grown adult died of heart failure through dehydration and malnutrition from virtual gaming for a week straight. (This was a highly intelligent human being, with a career.)
Do you know why? It’s been scientifically proven that technology activates the same neurobiological receptors as alcohol, smoking and sugar. Every “like” on facebook releases dopamine. Its addictive beyond repute. Furthermore its pedalled to us by some companies, who now KNOW this, with little or no regulation, and who use it to sell advertising so we buy more more stuff that we don’t really need, that makes us even less happier.
In the words of simon sinek “Its like opening a free bar to a thirteen year old and saying “help yourself!”
Only it’s not one thirteen year old. Its MILLIONS.
Bad, bad idea. Kind of akin to a global car crash.
Technology is not making us any happier that is for sure. We are in the foothills of the technological wild west right now.
And yet – something truly incredible is happening in all the midst of this – something remarkable – and truly world changing. In the midst of this there is incredible hope
We are being forced to rediscover what it means to be truly human. What it means to be truly alive.
In my next post – i’m going to explore this in a lot more detail.
I attempted to capture some of this in The Human Story 8. It’s a picture of our time. A picture of disruption and possibility.
Take a look for a moment – what do you see?
What we see – and project into our future says an awful lot about us.
I want to leave you with some exciting thoughts:
– Anxiety is misplaced creativity. Through choosing to focus on what you want to create – you can make a major shift in your life, and the lives of our children.
– Before every previous societal transformation – there is always a massive technological upheaval… in fact, it is a sign of a shift in consciousness.
– The answers to these problems are right in front of our faces. Though our brains and bodies ache in their attempt to catch up with technological evolution – by nurturing our home grown capacities for consciousness, compassion and confidence – we can turn this into a highly creative opportunity.
In a world that can feel like we are caught in a slipstream of overwhelm – remember this:
You don’t have to do anything you dont want to do.
You were born to create.
Let’s find a way to create a life, a world that we want.