The definition of the word “cede” is “to yield or formally surrender to another”.
I love the convenience of my cell phone. I can take photos, search maps, find addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation. I can check the weather, the traffic, the stock market and the news. I can email, text, Instagram or Facebook. I can find websites, You Tube tutorials and information for just about anything that I deem important, relevant or urgent at any moment of the day or night.
But…has this convenience become a brain-deadening dependence? Have I willingly ceded the vast vistas of my mind and thought-life to another? Has this “alien” to my own inner life taken hostage the control of my personal freedom to roam at will? I am afraid something of the sort has happened and is happening.
When all of life can be accessed from a small handheld device, when the sheer amount of information that streams into our consciousness through this techno-wonder is crushing or falsely elating our psyche, when we willingly distract or mesmerize ourselves with the constant barrage of “everything”, I fear we are in danger of losing ourselves: our very unique personhood which includes the unseen qualities of spirit and soul as well as our tangible, seeable bodies.
To cede is to yield or formally surrender to another. I sense the loss this surrender causes because it’s easier to call up a game than sit alone and think, because it’s less boring to watch a You Tube video than to just sit quiet and rest, because to scroll seems a profitable activity of sorts, while non-electronic margins in our lives seem superfluous and inefficient.
And yet…quiet margins are not inefficient but a very, very human necessity: very crucial. It is good to be alone, to stop scrolling our screens and spinning our thoughts. It is also very hard to do when we’ve become accustomed to our powerful handheld manager: directing, and possible dictating for us, all of our thoughts, ideas and ideals. What happens when we lay it down and put it from us? I have experimented with several electronic-free venues and have actually been pleased with each of my experiments. Stay tuned…I will introduce these four areas of margin I have found in my life.