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I have four hundred and twenty-two friends
yet I'm lonely.
I speak to all of them every day, yet
none of them really know me.
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The problem I have sits in the spaces between
looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen.
I took a step back and opened my eyes
I looked around and realised
that this media we call social is anything but.
When we open our computers
and it's our doors we shut.
All this technology we have is just an illusion.
Community, companionship, a sense of inclusion
yet when you step away from this device of delusion,
you awaken to see a world of confusion.
A world where we're slaves to technology we mastered
where information gets sold by some rich greedy bastard.
A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion
where we all share best bits but leave out the emotion.
We're uttermost happy within experience we share
but is it the same if no one is there?
Be there for your friends and they'll be there, too.
But no one will be if a group message will do.
We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation
We pretend not to notice the social isolation.
We put words into order until our lives are glistening.
We don't even know if anyone is listening.
Being alone isn't a problem, let me just emphasize
if you read a book, paint a picture or do some exercise,
you're being productive and present,
not reserved and recluse.
You're being awake and attentive
and putting your time to good use.
So when you're in public and you start to feel alone,
put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone.
You don't need to stare at your menu, wipe your contact list.
just talk to one another. Learn to coexist.
I can't stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train
where no one wants to talk for the fear of looking insane.
We're becoming unsocial,
we're no longer satisfied to engage with one another
and looking into someone's eyes.
We're surrounded by children, who since they were born,
have watched us living like robots and think it is norm.
It's not very likely you make world's greatest dad
if you can't entertain a child without using an iPad.
When I was a child I'd never be home.
Be out with my friends on our bikes
I had holes in my trainers and graze up my knees
building our club house up in the trees.
Now the park's so quiet it gives me a chill.
See no children outside and the swings hanging still.
There is no skipping, no hop-scotch, no church and no steeple.
We're generation of idiots:
Smartphones and dumb people.
So look up from your phone, shut down display.
Take in your surroundings, make the most of today.
Just one real connection - - it's all it can take
to show you the difference that being there can make.
Be there in the moment that she gives you the look
that you remember forever as when love overtook.
Time she first hold your hand, or first kiss your lips,
the time you first disagree but still love her to bits.
The time you don't have to tell hundreds of what you've just done,
because you want to share this moment with just this one.
The time you sell your computer so you can buy a ring
for the girl of your dreams who's now the real thing.
The time you want to start a family and the moment when
you first hold your little girl and get to fall in love again.
The time she keeps you up at night and all you want is rest
and the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest.
The time your baby girl returns with a boy for you to hold
and the time he calls you grand-dad and makes you feel real old.
The time you're taking all you've made just by giving life attention
and how you're glad you didn't waste it
by looking down to some invention.
The time you hold your wife's hand,
sit down beside her bed,
You tell her that you love her, lay a kiss upon her head.
She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat
that she is lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street.
But none of these times ever happened.
You never had any of this.
When you're too busy looking down,
you don't see the chances you miss.
So look up from your phone, shut down those displays.
We have a finite existence, a set number of days.
Don't waste your life getting caught in the net
as when the end comes, nothing's worse than regret.
I'm guilty too of being part of this machine,
This digital world we're heard but not seen,
where we type as we talk and we read as we chat,
where we spend hours together without making eye contact.
Just don't give in to the life where you follow the hype.
Give people your love.
Don't give them your like.
Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined.
Go out into the world and leave distractions behind.
Look up from your phone, shut down that display.
Stop watching this video and live life the real way.
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49107 Folder Collection
Halu Hsieh published on May 7, 2014    Clément translated    Lucy Fan reviewed
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