Screen Addiction, Part 1: Wake Up Call

Out of all the topics that are valuable to re-evaluate as we hope to make positive change in our lives, screen addiction is perhaps one of the most widespread. Modern civilization has found itself in the midst this personal sticky situation, and will eventually have to evolve as we continue to progress into greater peace and consciousness. Whether we are talking about screens in general or more specifically the internet – whether the format be television, computer or particularly smart-phone – this addiction has come as a radical uprising that the majority of us have been swept away in so instinctually, so obviously, that if you're in the midst of common culture, chances are you were too involved in the phenomenon to have the space to recognize what's been happening for what it truly is.

From the lowest perspective, we are a species enslaved. We are slaves to our impulses and habits to refer to these screens in order to pass the time, unconsciously depending on our devices to relieve us of any slightest glimpse of boredom, awkwardness, or discomfort. The average American can be found today in a place where he once might have naturally had his head up open to and present with the real world around him, compromising such opportunities to engage with life through the fresh present moment to delve into the convenient pocket portal of the smart phone as a means for immediate predictable comfort. The implications of this is that on a larger and larger level, we no longer know how to just be in this world with ourselves or with one another, assuming that the best answer to any true opportunity to simply be is to pull out a screen.

The numbers for how much time the average American spends on the screen is currently estimated at up to around 9-11 hours per day -- which means the greater majority of one’s time awake for many of us. With such radical usage, it would seem safe to assume that there is something to living on a screen that must simply serve the individual more than good old-fashioned physical being. The reality of the matter, however, is that our addiction is more likely fueled, like any other addiction, by the empty promise of illusory instant gratification that never truly fulfills, leaving us coming back more and more to seek that inner sense of something that is only drained in the long-run, the more we depend on an external stimuli to supply it.

The virtual model of experience supplied by the screen is simply not what the body-mind-soul complex was originally intended to invest its energetic conscious capacities in. Although not as dramatic as a substance addiction, it is still valuable to come to terms with our addictive tendencies, so that with greater awareness we can notice the behaviors we unconsciously participate in that might not be in alignment with our potential and how we wish to live our lives.

When we’re engulfed in the screen, we become dissociated from our consciousness of the present moment. As our awareness becomes disengaged from the body that is home, we experience a loss of touch with time, clarity, reason, etc., while our scope of perception is narrowed down into a virtual representation of reality. The overall effects can span to distort our social lives, as well as cause irritability, depression, dependency and other symptoms of addiction.

This pattern of behavior is not sustainable- we are simply not meant to be psychologically dependent on technology to this extent. The fact that technology use is so rampant only means we are more blind to an awareness of these effects as our culture only thus far enforces this pattern of external dependency. Yet more and more individuals are waking up to this slumber -- our consciousness showing up to remind us of what it is here for.