Today it is much more difficult to get up than it was 10 years ago, and that's not just because we're all getting older. 10 years ago chances are that every morning started with the same thing; hitting the alarm clock. Wind the clock on a decade and chances are most people don't even have an alarm clock. After all why have a separate device that performs only one task when we can merge many devices into one in the shape of a mobile phone.
For me this represents an important and detrimental change to our behavior. You're not even out of bed and you already have access to an entire civilization of knowledge and understanding.
The mobile telephone is a drug. Having near unimaginable data available on demand is a drug that plays to our very nature of inquisitiveness and curiosity. Worse still, the mobile phone has created an expectation that this data should always be available, as if it were some basic human right.
The argument goes that "what is so wrong with checking the weather for the day ahead?". Well the probably is the nature of the drug. As soon as you unlock your phone chances are that you've received some email overnight. Well you may as well check it. You're not doing anything else, after all you're still in bed. Oh but it's an email from work. Ah well, you may as well reply to it before you get in the shower.
But bed is pretty comfortable and warm. May as well just check the news while I'm here. I know that nothing much could have possibly happened in the last few hours whilst most of Europe was also asleep but... just in case...
Well nothing has really happened, some usual stuff about politicians being caught out, wars overseas, the usual. But surely by friends have done something with their life while I was asleep. To make sure we'd better fire up Facebook/Twitter/Google+/LinkedIn/generic other if not all of them.
Now look at your morning compared to that of a decade ago. Is this better?
For me, no.
Work consumes enough of my life. If people can't wait for my reply to an email before I get to my desk then they should not have chosen email as their communication method.
All of these things take away from the early morning. The one point in the day when you should be able to leisurely take a few moments to yourself and enjoy some quiet and contemplation before pulling yourself into the day. But instead our lives are invaded.
I remember a time not-so-long-ago when in the mornings when I first awoke I starred at the ceiling for a minute, coming to terms with a new day. When it was realised that I was awake I was asked lovingly whether I'd slept well and questioned on my dreams. Today I pull myself out of bed almost immediately, relegated to second place and resenting the phone held in my partner's hand.
I watched this TED talk when it first came out in February and it resonated with me. So much so that I've been unable to forget it and I've watched it thrice more since.
I won't waste my time in repeating her, but her points I feel are valid and need to be recognised on a much larger scale. The internet and everything it entails allows us a fantastic opportunity for us to explore ourselves in an environment similar but seperate from reality and we should use that to better ourselves. Instead the virtual world is consuming the real one.
The solution is clear.
Humanity and human awareness.
The week before last, in our ritualistic morning coffee on one morning at one point I lent over to the (older and slightly technophobic) guy next to me and said "Kids today" gesturing to the rest of the group. The other 3 members sat at the coffee table were all consumed inside of their iPhones, giving some strength to the argument of The Cult of Apple.
But last week one of the group spent an entire 35 minutes involved with the social media interactions on their phone rather than with the lively back-and-forth going on before their very eyes, had they bothered to look up.
We evolved as social creatures. We crave and need the recognition and interaction of other's in society. Yet we are marching to a situation where people would rather text across a table than talk, devoid of emotion and feeling as the instant proofing and editing occurs before the Send button is pressed.
Imagine the future where voices have been replaced by 6 digit hands.