Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mobility Under The Influence of Distraction

Perhaps this is less true about walking, than it is about traversing on wheels (of some sort or other), but why doesn't it occur to anyone that there is a certain amount of focus required?

I see people doing as many things as they possibly can while they walk, pedal, scoot or, worst of all, drive.

Is it necessary to be distracted while mobile? Is it productive?

It is certainly not mindful. And the lack of awareness actually tends toward thoughtlessness and self-centeredness.

Now, this is not to be confused with or mistaken for someone who goes for a walk and gets lost in thought that might or might not seem aimless.

In one case, the mind is engaged; in the other the mind is not engaged. Can you discern which is the engaged mind and which is not? And what does that actually mean?

I claim that the cellphone texters and gabbers are engaged, but distracted. When these individuals are so focused on their handheld devices that they cannot see traffic lights, stop signs, other pedestrians, flowers, trees, telephone poles, mailboxes or cars barreling into their path with legal right of way, I think that they are lacking in mindfulness, are thoughtless and self-centered.

This is different than the person who walks, unencumbered by electronic accessories, lost in thought. This person is also engaged, though perhaps not focused. This person is thoughtful, this person is aware of the surroundings. It is very possible this person is solving a problem, meditating or otherwise creating.

Which pedestrian is more likely to be injured by an oncoming motor vehicle?

Is any of the text or gab worth your life? Is it producing that great work of art that will be spoken of a hundred years from now? Is it raising the Gross National Product? In short, does it accomplish anything of significance?

blah, blah, blah

        babble, babble, babble

bah, bah, black sheep,

        have you any wool?

[Don't answer.]

        3 bags full...........


So, here is my PSA for today: Put the gizmo away, look around and mind yourself!