Let’s face it. We live in a gadget-y world. No matter the scope of one’s daily work or lifestyle, chances are one rarely goes through an entire day without being exposed to “the gadgets.” No matter where we turn, there are iPhones, iPads, iPods and various other forms of electronic contraptions meant to make life easier, faster, more accessible, doable, livable, and successful.
Past generations once believed the key to happiness on earth lied within realms of faith, family and willingness to work hard. Milleniums seem to replace those core factors with “money, speed and power”—or, something of that nature.
Sometime around 1998, Apple magnate, Steve Jobs told the world what he intended the lower-case “i” to mean in his product brand names. He listed words such as, “Internet, inform, instruct, inspire and individual.”
Perhaps the “individual” one took off leaps and bounds above the rest, to the point that society has become an I-centered universe. Increasingly rare is it to find someone who goes more than a few hours without posting a selfie online. People seem compelled to let the world know what they are doing in any given waking moment of their days. Here I am, waking up…here I am, eating a ham sandwich…here I am, putting on my make-up…here I am, doing nothing! The I-prefix seems to have taken on a life of its own, creating a snowball effect that rolls its way through all corners, streets, back-alleys, penthouses, corporations, highways, byways and nothing-is-sacred-anymore landscapes. It’s all about the “selfie”, which means it’s all about “self”; which, I’m not so sure is a good thing. I can only imagine what modern-day Monet paintings might look like, with tiny, lovely pastel-colored people in rowboats, flower gardens, and on the banks of beautiful rivers holding their selfie-taking-gadgets instead of parasols, bouquets and bottles of wine.
Gadgets are not going away. They are permanent fixtures of our modern world; and, to be fair, have in many ways allowed us to become more efficient, organized and productive in a variety of fashions at home, work and play. But, where does it end? Is there any moment in life that is not a waiting-to-happen “selfie” moment? Instagram, Facebook and other social online venues are teeming with photos of what were once thought to be some of the most intimate moments in a person’s life. Selfies of women birthing babies, selfies of people getting dressed (or, worse, un-dressed). There are even frequent selfies posted from private bathrooms and public restrooms across the nation!
Although the majority of selfie-fanfare is benign and intended for humor, a brief scan of news headlines illustrates something much darker. It is time to question motives and do a little soul-searching when someone posts a photo of a fatal car accident online that he or she has just caused; or, when someone posts live Tweets and videos of a violent crime taking place, accompanied by ruckus laughter and lewd comments, rather than aiding the victim.
It might be a good idea to ponder a life (or, how about a day, for starters?) without selfies. Funny, the above-mentioned Mr. Jobs has also been quoted as saying he never allowed his own son to “use gadgets” and greatly limited his children’s use of technology at home.
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.