Musings

Why I left texts forever exactly a year ago
March 13, 2014 – 07:20

I just wrote it in my journal. No texts. I deleted my WhatsApp account on an impulse. But I never thought I could stick to it. I mean c’mon… I used to be this guy who would always say it with a ‘text’. And this day completes a year of abstinence (with zero relapses). I do miss it sometimes. But then, you miss your first love with the runny nose, pimple ridden cheek, and hair smelling like wee, the one you fell in love with in the 3rd Grade. Makes little sense to run back to something simply because you miss it.

So why the hell would someone go about doing such a stupid thing? And what difference does it make anyway? To text or not to text.

I think one problem with texting is that it is not a medium of ‘communication’. If you know what I mean.’Communication’ as differentiated from ‘information exchange’. Texting is too short and too impersonal to convey a feeling or an emotion. You cannot have a conversation through texts.

Another problem is the time we spend texting. We do it all the time. In bed, between sheets. While we eat. While we work. While we play. While we walk. While we talk. Every next minute.

But that’s not even half the problem. The problem is we’re gradually, generation after generation, replacing human interactions with technology. We don’t even know how to form life-long friendships anymore. One Japanese study reveals that people find online gaming more fascinating than sex.

When you communicate you do not depend so much on the words as you do on the non-verbal aspects. When you text, you completely rule out the possibility of any form of non-verbal communication. Little wonder we get across only a tiny bit of what we wanted to. Don’t be surprised if people completely misunderstand you.

That little reed beeper on the phone is just so annoying. You just can’t stop yourself from reaching into your pocket and reading the goddamn text. It’s just so addictive. And we do it all the time. You come across families sitting together at table with all the members busy with their phones. We do it while dating or talking to friends. And it all seems so harmless. We pretend we’re listening to someone when our mind is somewhere else. It adversely affects all personal relations. The phone is taking our friends away, contrary to the belief that it connects us. You are out there – ‘alone together’.

I started feeling very lonely with technically suave people. They just miserably fail to establish a personal connection. So unlike ‘others’ I decided to focus on one person at a time. I’d rather have just one ‘real’ person to talk to for life than a 100+ crowd on my phone’s screen. When you give all your attention to someone the conversation gets really deep and meaningful. The relations we try to strengthen through texts remain as shallow as they were simply for the fact that the conversations lack any human element. What sense does it make to talk to 10 people at the same time anyway?

My life has become much simpler. I can concentrate on something for hours. I’ve become more content and peaceful. At any moment I look like this Zen Monk with a lot of hair. Relationships too have become more satisfying and meaningful.

I’ve realized I don’t need to answer everyone on the phone right away. I can choose who I want to talk to. You don’t need to quit texting, like me. But you definitely should cut it to the bare minimum. How do you know the limits? Just see if you’re making it difficult for someone to get close to you. Or ask your dog.

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