Device Protection

Last night, I was listening to a new acquaintance talk about the tendency, these days, for people to make an almost knee-jerk adjustment from experiencing real and intense events to suddenly detaching from that experience by putting a cell phone in front of their faces (supposedly) to record the event…and then walk away.  In his words, “far from feeling rejuvenated…what was once exotic has quickly become familiar…”

I was reminded of the video of the street person who sat at a sidewalk piano and beautifully played a familiar song, from memory.  The grace with which he crossed right hand over left to precisely strike the bass note was poetry.  I was in awe; the spectators were in awe…until a young woman took out her phone to record it.  Really?  Now, in all fairness, the person recording the event for my benefit was doing the same thing, but I think she sensed the inappropriateness of her actions and put her phone away.  She settled back and just experienced what was happening.

I do not dispute what my acquaintance says about people today but, I suspect, people have been responding (with or without cell phones) to intense real life since before the shepherds fell to the ground and hid their faces from the angel…I’ll go so far as to say since before Adam and Eve hid from God.  Some things are too intense.  Some people are less able to handle intense events or emotions than others.

I know a woman whose default state is to have her ‘devices’ up.  She is always composed and in control.  Ironically, she likes to attend Christmas Eve services and expects to be ‘moved.’  When she is not, she is disappointed in the church or the service that has been recommended to her.  I will not criticize her because I do not know what past experiences have caused her to keep herself detached and protected.

I recall waking up in the wee hours many years ago because in my sleep I had been aware of angels singing in rejoice for my recent spiritual unfurling.  As I stood at the dark window looking out from my room, the sensation and details of the experience faded.  Many times I have had intense and delightful dreams only to waken, aware that my dream had been wonderful, but I could not recall exactly how or in what way.

What I am saying is no revelation.  There are even pop songs written about how just touching the beloved other is more than the writer can handle.  And, in all fairness to current society’s moves to put up devices for protection, our constantly and easily being informed of our world today evokes extreme and acute sensations.  I am reminded, again, of seeing the uncensored images of 9/11 where bodies were falling from above and landing with a finality around a man, seemingly unable to move.   I saw the uncensored images shortly after Anwar Sadat was shot…a man held up his stump of a forearm; he had dark holes in his face.  Even a TV drama episode which showed a man’s arm being severed by a helicopter blade…before the requisite “Caution to viewers…,” taught me what it means to have your ‘gorge rise.’

My brother can not watch the annual rivalry game between Clemson and Carolina (the southern one) because the real-time tension and insecurity upsets him too much; he records it.  If Clemson wins, he makes watching the victory a major event.  If Clemson loses, he destroys the recording…probably with disgust and a fair display of emotion.  Before TEVO, I’m sure he chucked the video cassette into the trash and burned it.

We all have our devices.

For a long time, I held God and faith away at arm’s length.  I attended services and received communion; I served on the altar guild (being careful to avoid the duties which involved preparing the elements for communion; that was too holy); I proofed the bulletins; I photographed events;  I created the directory and the tri-fold brochure; I directed weddings; I answered the phones.  I was busy and contributed…but was not fully present.  When I kneeled to pray, the best I could muster was,”okay, God; I’m here.”  When in a group and the group offered up prayers, I did not participate…out loud, anyway.  My pain involving God was too intense, too hot.  I had a lot of wounds that needed draining before they could heal.

We all have our devices.

I am repeating myself, but I say that it is okay to put up devices because this is not heaven; this is the life before the afterlife.  My creed, if I remember to use it, is to be kind and gentle.  As I have heard it said, until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you have no right to judge.  What my acquaintance says is well taken, well intended…and true.  We as a society tend to miss out on the real experience of this real life.  It is a shame…and it makes me sad.  But I understand it in the same way I understand how people can hate others because of fear or injury.  It is a truth…a natural human reaction.  I will gently add, though, that it is a device that we should observe, recognize, and if given the strength and grace to…take down.

 

 

10 thoughts on “Device Protection

  1. Tricky part of the woman recording it was maybe she wanted to share this moment with others later on showing how wonderful an event. Maybe she should have waited and asked afterwards if she could record it?

    Could you imagine if the crucifixion was today? The Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and cable news feeds alone. Pilate would probably be in the Today Show the next morning with Matt Lauer….

    The human eye can absorb more detail abstractedly. Problem is, unless a traumatic moment, can fade some in memory in time?

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    1. It is interesting that you bring up the crucifixion. Late last night a friend and I were talking about his writing a story about the crucifixion and all that leads up to it but written in the second person…through the eyes of an observer. We talked about how difficult it would be to simply observe all that went on and not have some reflection of reaction or attachment.

      Ironically, the quote at the beginning of my “Device” piece is by a gentleman who has written a novel in the second person; I heard him talk about how difficult it is to maintain that voice through the whole piece.

      I think your idea is a valid and strong one and I think my friend should pursue his concept. I think it would have a lot of impact.

      Blessings.

      Like

  2. Thoughtful piece. Many times in nature, I have thought to take a photo, yet God has taught me to keep my camera phone in my pocket. He has told me with certainty the view he sets before me is between he and I – that is for our relationship and ours alone.

    I do appreciate that about him.

    As for news photos of disasters, I think there are advantages and disadvantages. I believe we need to see and be aware of tragedies going on in the world and not stick our heads in the sand. On the other hand, I think younger folks may become desensitized to actual violence when they view it daily on games or fictional dramas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Kitsy,

    Thank for your thoughts and comment, and for visiting my Book Promo Blog! As asked, I came to give your post a read. I guess I should start by saying Maddi new at blogging and just 13-years0old. LOL. So her post was much shorter than yours here. “-)

    Now your post brings up many issues that we all face today with all our “tech” toys at our finger tips.
    I feel humans, especially teens today are just not “present in the moment” as God intended us to be. I was raised to go outside and play with other kids, have interaction and just be a kid, not be stuck watching TV for hours or playing video games, or even behind a computer. Today kids even have cell phones at age 14 and lower. I know the purpose was for them to check in with their parents, but now we live in a world of texting instead of talking face to face and begin a REAL HUMAN relationship, SnapChatting, Instagramming, and Facebooking to find pretty much everything we need in human contact.

    That is just the tip of the “Topic Iceberg” of how I feel about our “tech” devices! LOL…
    Geat blog you have here Kitsy! I am enjoying it and now following. Great to meet You!

    *Catherine*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine, I would totally agree with you about today’s use of technology by children, except that I can’t; this is why…

      From the second grade to the fifth, the teachers of my son wanted to hold him back each year because he did not do his assigned work. The principal and guidance counselors each year, however, refused to go along because, in their words, “He’s smarter than we are!”

      I knew he had a writing disability and probably a learning disability, as well, but the public school system refused to address the issue without testing him first and they refused to test him because his end-of-grade test scores were too high. My son fell through the cracks in the system.

      For his 6th grade, I enrolled him at a charter school thinking his issues would be handled differently; they were; his teacher told him daily that he was a sociopath (I didn’t even know what he meant by that), that he had wasted another day of his life, and that he would end up a “detriment to society.” I was totally unaware of this until a classmate told his mother, who then told me. This had been going on for months. I was livid. My son had said nothing about it but put up a battle every morning.

      I insisted on a meeting with the teacher. (He, by the way, was the only man in my son’s life, at that time.) He and the co-teacher sat down with me and in front of my son said that he was a total failure and that they recommended he be held back. Then they repeated what they told him daily. I was beside myself… but asked,

      “What is the problem?”

      “He doesn’t do his work.”

      “How are his test scores.”

      “Great. Usually in the 90’s”

      “How were his end-of-grade scores?”

      “90th percentile or better in all subjects.”

      “Then, what is the problem?”

      “He doesn’t do his work.”

      “Does he listen in class?”

      “Yes.”

      “Does he answer your questions correctly?”

      “Yes.”

      “Does he contribute to classroom discussion?”

      “Yes.”

      “Is he disruptive?”

      “No.”

      “Then what’s the problem?”

      “He doesn’t do his work.”

      We went around and around like this for over an hour. I took my son home and kept him at home so he could heal from such verbal and emotional abuse. As it turns out, my daughter, who was in the 8th grade, was receiving comparable abuse from teachers and classmates, relating to her cerebral palsy. I yanked her out of public school at the same time. It was 2002.

      I was still working full time and this was at the peak of my work with climate change and global warming: programming, web page development, and annual report production, However, I told the state I was home schooling my children. I filled out the requisite paperwork and named our school after the drainage ditch that ran behind our house, “Smith Mill Creek Academy.”

      My daughter loved teaching herself and did a lot of work using mostly a Christian-based curriculum; that’s all there was available at the time and it was decent except when it declared science was a lie.
      For my son, there was more ‘home’ than ‘schooling’ going on, but he had been pretty badly abused and there was a lot of depression and anger we all had to deal with.

      To top things off, all three of us were diagnosed bipolar around 2000-2005. In fact, I retired on disability, strongly encouraged and supported by management, in 2003. I did not get stable on medication until around 2007.

      Starting in 2002, my son watched a lot of cartoons, some of which were rather dark but seemed cathartic to him. At some point, I bought a state-of-the-art computer and educational software for the kids. My son played a lot of video games and when the internet was decently controllable, I made it available to them, as well. He went through scouts and became very involved with the church youth program.

      It is interesting how, even today, people ask the same cliched questions about home-schooling: did they learn how to socialize? did they exercise? what about art and music?

      My two children are brilliant. My daughter went on to graduate with honors in creative and professional writing from Converse College. She has written and maintained a blog on Korean dramas that has had thousands of followers from all over the world. She is now a senior-level branch office administrator for a prominent investment firm.

      My son has made a few stabs at getting his college education but ends up personal friends with his professors because he knows as much, if not more, than the professors, themselves. He is almost totally self-taught in math, science, computer technology, music (classical as well as contemporary), history, literature, cinematography, philosophy, religion,…as well as, rocketry, poetry, photography, and art. He has even rebuilt a turbo-charge engine for his all-wheel-drive car. All this knowledge and ability he has gained mostly through the internet. He has been a moderator on a sub-reddit and runs the copy shop at Staples. (By the way, he also has multiple heart conditions and had his aortic valve and aorta replaced at age 16; he is due another replacement within the next few years.)

      My son, daughter, and I are almost always close to our cell phones. We watch a lot of movies together and are fond of debating issues from politics and philosophy to psychology. I learn something new from them every time we are together. I chose not to protect my children from their culture the way I had been; it did not hurt them in the least. In fact, they know more about my culture than I do. Because of their health issues, life has always been serious business so they have not wasted their lives with drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and the like. I don’t forbid anything but we have always talked about the right way to treat each other and ourselves. In fact, they are the first to call me down when I am thinking or behaving in a harmful way.

      I do not think technology is a problem; I think the stress of life is. Man has always relied on something to tune out life when it gets too ‘real.’ Instead of taking bipolar medication, for example, my son has chosen to pace the floor (sometimes all night long) listening to music through earbuds…particularly when he is either overly depressed or overly manic; that practice has kept him alive.

      I was there when the ftp-linked network of computers became the world wide web. I wrote my first web page in 1993, learning html as I went. Personally, I am grateful for technology and thankful to God for protecting my children and guiding them through technology when I could not be there.

      I understand how people can think otherwise, but this has been my experience; people will use technology for a variety of reasons but without today’s devices, they would be using other things for distraction or stimulation. That is just the way we are.

      I realize this is very long and rather personal, Catherine, so you may chose to not publish it but you have my permission to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear your other side Kitsy. Yes, tech devices, and technology in general can be a source of “Good” in many area’s. Medical, teaching, and so many positive area’s that can help many.

        I guess I just get sad and frustrated when I see it used for the negative area’s it has impacted. Like people dieing because some BOZO was driving and talking or texting and gets in an accident. Or parents using TV and The Computer as their kids personal babysitter. I guess I have seen too much negative impact. Like for myself. Gambling is part of this technology … I became an addicted to gambling machines that were located everywhere in my State of Oregon courtesy of the Oregon Lottery.

        I too suffer bipolar manic depression and agoraphobia with mild mania, so I do understand what you are saying.

        Now 9 years in recovery, I do use technology for good with advocating about the dangers of how easy we can become addicted to gambling, and help others in recovery 🙂

        So I think we both have covered many different explored views of these topics now, hopefully we can Help Others with the same area’s of the Pro’s & Con’s of technology! LOL 🙂

        Catherine “-)

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        1. I confess, when I was at my worst, I, too, used the TV or video games to ‘babysit’ my children. I am mortified and guilt-crippled by the memories. My only consoling thought is that they were not on the street or exposed to a culture of drugs or alcohol. I’d rather not dwell on how bad it was, though, because it was bad.

          My addiction, by the way, has been to spending money…not shopping, but having the ability to buy whatever I felt I, or my children, needed. This is in retaliation for being neglected as a child.

          So, we have more than our names in common.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, I do agree that part life is behind us, and thank goodness for the sanity our Lord Jesus Christ shared with BOTH of us. XOXO

            It should serve as reminder to newcomers that, it doesn’t matter have down you can go and feel the taste of Hell with any addiction, we can recover and make a beautiful life in recovery.

            And, I do do believe, …wait, I KNOW, God had his hands all over me from the time I had turned my back on him, to the the two times I felt him pull me back from the edge of darkness by way of two failed suicide attempts, to now today with answering every one of my prayers for a good life in recovery.

            I know with our HP, all I am expected to do is share my testimony, help others reaching out for help and hope in recovery, and by gollie, “just try to the right things” … LOL.

            So that is what I try to do each day in recovery, and in all I do each day 🙂 XO
            *Catherine*

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