On a Monday afternoon in a San Francisco grocery store: a million young people. Some of them are in the checkout line and some of them are picking at life-sustaining minerals packaged for take-home. All necks are crooked downwards into their phones. This crowd is hopped-up on the low-dose experience. The low-dose experience that is hurled across not-so-sacred devices, resting for a moment in a shirt-pocket launch pad.
Doing things the old fashioned way, like the old folks do, is a way of reconnecting directly with who it is we are. The old fashioned way almost always means simplicity. Having friends for dinner, a walk in nature, a bath with a book. By getting back to the direct experience of our bodies, we are re-aligning ourself with the physical world around us. The self-that-knows craves the ease of a direct experience without distraction. The ability to read an article without an excessively-boobed temptress leering over the words, suggesting you give online dating a try. Devices offer just enough stimulation to trick us into believing that we are having a real experience. All the energy is there, and none of the physical charge. Emotions are processed through direct experience, the going through of life. By continuously having low dose experiences we are teasing our emotions and eventually curbing them altogether. Imagine the temporary relief that our devices provide us in the midst of real emotion, as if one more man in Budapest who Likes us will stave off the well of feeling that must be experienced to create growth. With the help of the low-dose experience, we are becoming masters at emotional deflection.
The longing for a direct experience will always be there. Our hearts clamor for it. Just remember what life can be like in the flesh. The synchronicity of destined lovers colliding in line at a cafe will always be more direct than the fumbling fingers of an app like Tinder. The wild book that falls on you like Newton’s apple will always be more direct than an e-reader clawing from an overstuffed database of droll. Sex will always be more direct than sexting. It’s not that the newer modes aren’t worthwhile, it’s that they are feigning a direct experience and putting more distance between us and it. What results is that the truth of the experience, what is immediately felt, has that much farther to travel. It’s distilled through some reckless digital consciousness and comes out flimsy and unfulfilling. When it does hit you through the airwaves, in the form of all the nobodies you’ve ever met hurling praise your way, you are still left wanting. A hundred million likes won’t stand against a firm handshake of eager, sweaty palms, greeting you in daylight.