The Intersection of the Super Now and the Cyborg World
I believe that we are going into a“SUPERNOW,” which to me feels like the old “NOW” on steroids.
The “NOW”is our experience of what’s happening in the present moment from the P.O.V. of our personal experience of what is actually occurring—without any of our evaluations and judgments,without adding our past experiences in order to interpret what is happening. In other words, being in the now is experiencing the world just as it is. It’s like the first moment of jumping into a cold pool on a very hot day; the experience of the cold water on our hot body is pure “NOW,” just being in that exact moment with all the feelings just as they are.
Fifteen years ago, our lives may have felt pressured and yet the pressures were nothing in terms of how we live today. Back then we always had a grace period, and we didn’t even know it. It was rare to have a cell phone and if you had one,it was big and clunky. We reached out to each other with phone calls or letters. We left messages on answering machines. There was no texting and almost no email. Today, I think of anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone as a Luddite or an oddball.
Back then when we received a voice message or a letter, it seemed natural to get back to the person in an “appropriate amount of time”; no one would object to us taking a few hours or even a day to respond. There was no way even to know if and when a message was received. Everyone understood that we needed to get to our land line to receive the message. This is the grace period I’m talking about. Back then, who would have believed that we would progress to a time when we would be expected to respond instantly on a 24/7 basis?
In our business lives, we have developed a specific culture: If you want your boss to respect you, you reply within a few moments—and just a little slower on the weekend!
Today most of us are straining to keep up with the constant, never-ending flow of digital communications that are all competing for our highest priority.
Early in our species’ history, humans were hunters and gatherers, living in small tribes or packs that banded together to meet the daily challenges associated with finding food, shelter, and protecting one another from the threats of the day, which included being eaten by predatory animals. Being expelled from the tribe was a death sentence.
The problem is that today we belong not just to one pack but to many: family, business, schools, clubs, organizations, study groups,and other endless possibilities. At each level, we are expected to be “good soldiers,” which requires immediate actions to communicate. When we don’t respond in the time frame of that particular tribe, we risk losing our status in it.
The net result of this avalanche of digital input is the creation of a SUPER NOW.
A few months ago I had lunch with a department head at my firm who seemed bummed out over being so behind. After careful listening, I asked him how many emails he had in his inbox. I was shocked to hear him say “hundreds.” It didn’t take long to see that he was getting more and more depressed as the avalanche made him feel further and further behind.I asked our I.T. department to survey all of our staff’s “in-boxes,” looking to see if this was a common problem, and I was shocked to find out how common it was; many had thousands of emails clogging up their daily lives. The avalanche of requests for action is the core of the change to SUPER NOW, because every message has the possibility of bringing with it a prize or a penalty with a brief time horizon, and it’s 24/7 with no Sabbath. In cowboy movies, you were naked without your gun; today that gun is your smartphone.
The old sci-fi movies had cyborgs, human beings enhanced with non-human elements that gave them capabilities beyond those of normal humans.I don’t see the difference between me clutching my smartphone and a cyborg.
- 3 Oct, 2013
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments