What it would be like to live without a smartphone today? One of the research published in ‘Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking’ writes that smartphones deteriorate our health. Being the prime source of distraction, it preoccupies our entire time as well as alters our cognition.
Well, smartphones and devices would qualify as a necessary evil. So, can we live without smart devices? Well, the question haunts us, but we become too complacent to answer it. What is the purpose after all? The world seems less entertaining than it used to be –– but is that true? Have we lost the touch of genuine pleasure? Or are we all just bored?
It seems every innovation is to enhance communication. Communication, aids our conversation, to fill the gap between human beings. Voice is a significant part of communication. Thus we see new technology based upon them. Music players, phones, and now we could see modernization in voice applications.
Writing that technology resides everywhere is now a cliche term. It, of course, has been a part of our lives. Living without smart devices feels like I finally have access to my brain –– Google does not act as an extension of my thoughts. Here I will be writing about my life without a smartphone, purely from my own experience.
It was a dreary night. I have never felt my loneliness would add up with the absence of my smartphone. The solitude-ness had built right in front of my eyes. How could someone forget my birthday? How could someone forget that I exist? My mind would start a conflict with my reasons.
Well, is this the 21st century? The detachment from society would feel such strong that sometimes I felt like a monk in some mountains. Well, living without smartphones built up the journey of loneliness. It’s one of the major cons. Being a human is like being broken. But somehow yet someone had to mention this broken as beautiful.
A month had passed, and yet it felt like something was holding me back. Living without a smartphone is one heck of a deal. Apart from emotional detachment, and loneliness –– it completely shut off the outside world. However, with no updates and no new events, although peaceful and calm, the perspective of the world changes when we live in solitude.
As soon as the loneliness ended, the detachment arose higher. “Living without smartphones will make us realize more about people,” my friend used to say. Well for the first time in my life I saw how friends only pretend to become familiar. It may be how the world always was –– we were all living inside our bubbles. The detachment felt like the financial crisis of 2008. Back to zero.
Nonetheless, with detachment, came the world of peace. It was a sudden sense of calm not to see all junk in my online life. The dominant role of the online world was finally absent. “If you ever need me, just send me a text,” my other friend used to say. But whenever I called him, he was always unavailable. The best part was when most of my close friends forgot my birthday –– and never asked for the weekend gathering.
When I talked with my parents about this, they used to say my friend circle was rotten. Well, the same case had happened when one of my colleagues tried to go a year without smartphones. It’s the same story, but now I am the protagonist of my story. I could see all the happenings from the depth. There was nothing new under the sun –– the warmth somehow felt brighter.
We only live once. Well, it’s another generic piece of advice. But living the entire 15 hours in front of a computer is a waste of time. The hardest part is always at first. Becoming an information hoarder, not understanding the depth of the subject matter and continuously surfing for new information had played the major downside for the well-being of my mood. The behavior somehow had related to that of an addict.
Another realization fell on the surface when there was easy availability of the answers. The pre-era of the internet had no google and people used to search for information on books and in the library. When the answer is not easily found out, its value becomes more important. Nowadays, even the crucial information is unseen or ignored. Also, another downside is that knowledge only exists for short-term pleasure. There are thousands of “how” and “why” that google answers in a second, to forget a moment later.
Furthermore, the connection with real people was stunning. You don’t have to wait an entire hour to get the reply, while there’s no multitasking. It’s a different experience when a person only focuses on another person. Living without smartphones makes the offline world more real and appealing. Remember no messenger or WhatsApp, no fake emojis or emotions. The absence of anticipating another text built confidence and improved my self-esteem. No more obligation. No more desire for approval, but a real human interaction.
There was a sudden change in the production of dopamine inside my brain. Now the emotion has come back again. All the effects were just a withdrawal from years of digital stimulation. But still, the question remained was it worth it? What good are the changes without knowing the online world? The answer finally took its form as there was a change in small habits. These habits brought new pleasure while previously it was mundane.
Enjoying the nature
Humans have come far ahead from the primordial era. Is this journey worth it? It’s like the answer from Wordsworth’s point of view, being in nature solves many more things than being in college.
Well, the point is not being the poet himself but looking at things from another perspective. When was the last time you enjoyed the sunrise? Or when was the last time you looked into the sunset with love in your eyes? Leaving smartphones taught me much more than living with it. Life was flowing beside me, and I gazed at the digital twilight. Nothing was better than a good night’s sleep.
Experiencing childhood again
One of the surprising benefits of not using smartphones came with the feeling as if you are a child again. It must have been a boost in dopamine receptors to enjoy every new event like a child. No wonder they are always happy –– they are not using smartphones for 16 hours.
The happiness in our lives comes with awe of simplicity. Cheerfulness and contentment are the results of where we put our minds. Sometimes, not knowing everything is a blissful situation. It’s a beautiful thing to re-live, and re-think every moment with the spark of childhood.
Deeper experience with arts & novels
Without digital stimulation, the characters feel more alive than it ever was. I found happiness in old classic novels again. They were all gems scripted in time. Also, the movies and poetry gave me goosebumps which I had never experienced before. It was a beautiful experience to have more time for new arts. Knowing that you are not wasting your time on some useless meme made me feel I was doing something productive.
Increase in Concentration
The concentration went through the roof. Before it took me two months to complete a novel, but now I could do in 10 days. However, it took me a lot of time to achieve this height. Also, there was a sudden improvement in mood.
However, it’s hard to stay disconnected from society. It’s difficult not to be social. We, humans, were not meant to live this way. Although living only with smartphones is a lonely thing. It’s like a pandora’s box, even though there were many bad things, there was still hope. There are not only positive things to living without smartphones. Being antisocial is one of its drawbacks.
Loss of relationship
To maintain any relationship we need everyday connections. But still, there are some relationships that exist in our imagination while forgetting in reality. These relationships are a ghost –– because they are already dead. However, there comes a time when you will realize a lot of failed relationships.
It’s hard to live in solitude when the world is partying. Not only friendship, but you will also miss out on a lot of opportunities to be with girls if you are not out there in the club. Cutting smartphones does not directly affect your surroundings unless you choose to live alone. But it matters. You will see a decline in communication once you are off your smart devices.
Life without a smartphone
Whatever is your condition, or wherever you are, it’s only you who knows about it. However, there is no one to share your thoughts with –– it’s just your thoughts and your interpretation. You come home, you make some tea, and there’s nothing but to gaze walls. You feel like one of the characters in Bela Tarr’s movies.
Furthermore, you will also not know about your friend’s health–– are they dead or are they alive? The world news seems a bit boring. The matter of neighbours does not interest you much. Who is on mars and which country is first to land is out of our concern. Overall, alienating yourself from society makes you feel like you are staying in the same place forever.
Before smartphones or telephones, there was still life. A successful one. It’s not that we should not live with smartphones or devices, it’s just that we have adopted a new environment. We could always change, anytime, anywhere. The thing is everyone lives in an online world today, and it’s a feeling of being left out once you don’t involve in online interactions. But things could change, and sometimes nobody cares.
The most important thing is communication. If there were no voices or no touch, how could two humans know each other? Life is a journey towards the unknown where our voices act as a ladder. And yet there’s still so much to explore. We are free but in chains.