Dear Reader, You Are Not Reading This; You Are Having a Reading Experience!
Lately I've been musing on the way the word "experience" is popping up all over the place, and what it means to be having an experience.
Before watching a film, a message on the screen from the theater management enjoins me to please turn off my cell phone to preserve the movie-going experience.
While wandering around a huge, visually arresting Uniqlo retail clothing store, an amplified voice hopes I'm enjoying my shopping experience.
Some tech experts recently reminded me that TV viewing is a lean-back experience, where people want to relax, turn their minds off and absorb easy entertainment, and this is why the second screen experience (looking at something on a mobile device while watching TV, or watching split screen) should never be too complex or demanding.
So, what's up with all this ubiquitous experience-speak?
The only thing I can come up with is that it's in response to all the interface we have with the vast array of virtual experiences we have on offer, that are doing their impressive best to replicate real life and assuring us that we're having experiences.
So now, when we're doing the actual, real deal of living our lives, I have to wonder: are they getting processed in our minds as once removed "experiences"?
The point got underlined two days ago, when a tangle of traffic was about to make me late for the 8 pm curtain at the theater, so I asked my Uber driver to just stop and let me out at the corner, because it was going to be a lot faster to walk. I asked him to just point which way I should go. I kid you not, he pulled out his phone to show me the map on his phone. I said, no, please, just show me - the street is right here - do I go straight ahead or left at this corner? It took us 3 passes before he put down his phone and pointed. For him, the map on the phone was more real than the street.
Has life become a series of virtual experiences? Are any of us living outside our screens? (Other questions that follow: is this why mindfulness meditation has found such a great audience lately? Is it because we all need help living in the now? Or perhaps it's the reverse: we are all getting so good at watching our lives from the remove of mindful perspective... a kind of screen, right there... )
Your thoughts, please! This becomes quite the rabbit hole! And I know I'm not the first person to think these thoughts, so I'd love to get your take on this sea-change of whatever this is that's going on!
Take care and be well (virtually and actually).
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