The old cigarette ad shows a smoking doctor holding a baby.
We cringe because we know better now.
I wonder how long it will be before pictures of toddlers holding tablets cause the same reaction?
Because at some point we will know the effects of:
- learning to speak without being able to look directly at a face; adults were on a device while talking to you.
- never being bored enough to learn to be creative.
- hearing “just a second” more than any other phrase for the first 4 years of your life.
- being taught to re-arrange and re-enact the moment until it is most suitable for “sharing”.
Time will tell.
But, I do think one thing is already clear.
Those who have been trained to get likes will have a hard time giving love.
Giving love requires engagement.
Getting likes requires detachment.
Let’s talk detachment first.
Consider how, before the necessary capture and share required to get likes, you must detach. You have to hover above every scene ready to capture the moment. Then, the moment has to be evaluated and a choice made – share, delete, or re-enact? Each choice makes loving more difficult.
Sharing: What is shared is compared with thousands of other moments dressed up and held in captivity. Comparisons rarely make us happier. Unhappy people find it harder to love.
Deleting: If deleted, the moment is assigned a value which most certainly has psychological implications. Something about the moment was unworthy. Hard to love from a deficit position.
Re-enacting: If re-enacted, it is robbed of what gave it appeal in the first place. Love is incompatible with continuous attempts to create impressive moments. Lack of spontaneity means a lack of vulnerability. And love requires vulnerability.
Now we are talking about engagement and love.
Love means being fully present in the least impressive of moments. It means being so present that being present is it’s own reward. It means being engaged enough to share yourself and not a captured and curated version of yourself. It means losing yourself in the moment instead of capturing the moment.
It means keeping secrets instead of sharing.
It means holding everything as if it belongs instead of deleting.
It means revelling in unsanitized spontaneity instead of re-enacting.
Don’t take a picture of your french fries – eat them.