Experience Is > Google

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We live in a world of information overload. We’ve all felt it, too.

Google this. Ask Siri about that. Find the answer to any and everything you’re looking for. And we love it, don’t we? I don’t know how I drove anywhere before GPS or watched a movie without the help of IMBD.

But I often wonder if we’ve mistakenly replaced an experience with access to information. And maybe what’s at stake is not our performance or ease of access or convenience, but the condition of our souls.

Confession: I’ve been a prisoner of my faithful and consistent i-phone. She is always ready to respond to my requests for information from the weather to movie times, to just answering my own random questions that come about a few times a day.

There are days when I log hours. I’m talking HOURS, staring into the symmetrical rectangle of unlimited resources. And I love it. I love my podcasts and music and apps that make things funny, insightful, and convenient.

But there are moments when I wonder if I’m missing something in my life because I’ve become so attached to it.

When i-pods first came out, I remember how all of a sudden people couldn’t go anywhere without headphones surgically attached to their ears.

We used to joke about it because that guy, the one I never heard talk about music, now listened to it twenty-four seven. I see the same thing all these years later.

We are addicts to our devices. But more than that, we are addicted to the ease of information they provide. And I wonder if we can truly own something we did nothing to earn?

Is googling the same as learning something?

Is asking Siri a question and finding the answer the same as toiling our own memories to arrive at it?

There’s this amazing scene in the movie While We’re Young that has never left me. It’s a story of an older couple played by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts who befriend a younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried).

Both Ben and Adam are film makers, but Adam is taking an old world spin on it. He uses a typewriter and watches VHS tapes while Ben is an Apple-using-technologically-savvy individual.

There’s a scene where they’re trying to figure out what a certain kind of ice-cream tastes like and they can’t remember the name of the flavor. Ben proceeds to take out his phone to google, but Adam says, “Let’s just not know.” So they choose not to know.

It’s a foreign concept because most of us live in this instant information zone. We don’t know what it means to “not know” something. It takes a simple click of our phone, or a request to our sassy virtual assistant.

One could argue that as a people, as a generation, we are smarter and more informed than ever before. Of course, this makes sense when you consider the sheer volume of information that we all have access to.

Homework assignments are done with online search engines and we can find the answer to everything with a click. But we have to wonder if this means anything.

If we did nothing to earn the education, is it really ours?

I also wonder if we’ve replaced our sense of experience with access to information.

Our culture is built on instant access and perhaps, at times, we’ve forgotten the importance of an experience–the importance of discovering something for ourselves.

Anyone can type a few words into a google search bar, but it takes another kind of curiosity to go where you’ve never been and see what you’ve never seen and feel what you’ve never felt.

Don’t let experience get hijacked by ease of access.

Because it might be good for convenience and knowledge, sure. But maybe it’s not good for your soul.

Get out and experience the world. And put away your phone for a while.

The world is vast and beautiful. Don’t get stuck behind a screen.

Most of the time, I know, I can’t live without Google or my i-phone. That’s okay. But there are moments when I’m choosing experience over ease of access.

There are days when the phone stays in the other room.

If nothing else, it’s a reminder that life is meant to be lived and experienced and sometimes that means removing the distractions.

Sometimes that means leaving the comforts behind to dive into the depths of world around us.

Who knows?

We might discover something we never knew before…and we might find it without the assistance of Google.

Experience is > Google.

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