Things happen in the time they take. time can’t be fought, and because it will pass and it will move, we owe the present moment our full attention. Attention is time. The digital world cannibalizes time, and in doing so, what it threatens is the completeness of ourselves. It threatens the flow of love. But we don’t need to let it. We can choose otherwise.
Abha Dawesar is a writer, moving from India to the United States to study at Harvard. She is the author of the novels Family Values and Babyji.
In this TED Talk, she discusses life in the digital now. Living in blacked-out Manhattan post-hurricane Sandy, scrounging for power to connect, she was struck by this metaphor: Have our lives now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what’s real?
Sandy was a reminder of how such an illusion can shatter. There were those with power and water, and those without. There are those who went back to their lives, and those who are still displaced after so many months. For some reason, technology seems to perpetuate the illusion for those who have it that everyone does, and then, like an ironic slap in the face, it makes it true. For example, it’s said that there are more people in India with access to cell phones than toilets. Now if this rift, which is already so great in many parts of the world, between the lack of infrastructure and the spread of technology, isn’t somehow bridged, there will be ruptures between the digital and the real. For us as individuals who live in the digital now and spend most of our waking moments in it, the challenge is to live in two streams of time that are parallel and almost simultaneous. How does one live inside distraction?