Screen Scourge

Recently, I came across two discouraging articles in the New York Times. One was written by a woman who described her growing infatuation with her cell phone as justification for staring at the screen for more than seven hours a day. The other analyzed findings by social scientists showing that sex in America was on the decrease. I am curious as to how they came by those statistics, but the conclusion was that younger people were so enthralled with their screens that they preferred the unreality of screen content to human intimacy. A corollary to that study was that visits to free porn on the web were growing rapidly.

On the last flight I was on, the person next to me propped her cellphone up on her tray table, plugged in tear drop shaped ear pieces, and began watching a movie that was larded with CGI depictions of explosions, flying cars, combat and other effects designed for large theater screens. She had traded sitting in a theater in the company of other people for the experience of watching the movie on a tiny screen on an airplane, shutting out contact with other passengers.

As a practicing curmudgeon, I am obliged to point out the dangers of these behaviors. A look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that sex is among the basic needs we must satisfy before moving up the pyramid to self-actualization. Here’s the footnote https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs#Ranking_of_sex .

On the other hand, if people who are addicted to their screens are less likely to procreate, that probably enhances our gene pool. I suspect that people who would rather watch than play may have something to do with the fact that forty percent of adults in America are obese. That’s right, forty percent.

I could continue, but I won’t. I’d rather offer an alternative to screens. It’s called walking around in nature. And early spring is a good time of year to try it out. It involves not just walking but pausing to pay attention in detail to your surroundings. Nature is infinite in its variety, color, shape, and design.

Just to give an idea, here are some images from our backyard, reality reality, no cellphones, goggles, or digital paraphernalia needed. And I recognize the irony that I’m using a screen to ask they be avoided.

Walkway weed — magnified size of a penny

Quit the screen, have sex, lose weight, reduce stress, have fun. How’s that for a concept?   

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