Here I am on another day of “rubbernecking” the radio and my iphone to hear about the latest gyrations of the stock market. I’m not going to change my investment strategy so I don’t know why I can’t resist listening. I think that maybe it’s the fear that I’ll miss out on something or maybe it’s the desire to be the first to learn something or maybe it’s a distrust that someone else will find out something and use it to their advantage or my disadvantage.
Whatever the reason, it is doing damage to my being able to be present in conversations with other people, to my being able to give my undivided attention to people I care about and even to people who are paying me explicitly for that.
Also sneaking a peak at my iphone during dinners or when a client is taking a call and then being annoyed when they do the same when I am wanting their undivided attention is not exactly helping the quality of my relationships.
When I was the first to sneak those peaks during family dinners it earned the scornful glances of my wife and children and now that everyone is doing it, I can laugh at the irony of it. But I don’t think it is a laughing matter.
I know that Sundays are supposed to be a day of “cease trading,” but that doesn’t stop people from gearing up to to hit the ground running on Monday.
I know that when Y2K (remember that globally feared day when all the computers of the world would strike back?) and more recently 9/11/11 came and went, there was a significant diversion of attention away from trading (but not iphones and BlackBerrys), but it was based on a reaction to fear. And although people came together to deal with a common enemy and threat that pulled people together, it didn’t necessarily foster a closeness on building something together.
If you will allow a brief non sequitur, I also know (as do you) that when a modem is overwhelmed with too much information it cannot function or does so poorly in transferring (a.k.a. communicating) information between the Internet and your computer. And when that happens you are told to: a) disconnect your modem, b) power it down and wait (to allow its memory to drain), c) reconnect the modem, d) power it up.
Is it possible that the collective global psyche of the world is like an overloaded modem and can no longer meaningfully communicate, comprehend or listen to anything or anyone else?
What would be the effect of an agreed upon midweek 24 hour global cease trade and cease looking at anything financial and instead focusing our undivided attention on everything we haven’t been focusing it on?
I don’t think the world would explode or implode. Who knows we might even discover or rediscover some of the things that make life worth living.