The Dying Art of Thinking

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Autocorrect and predictive text is creating within me a new level of mental and emotional laziness.

I am probably late to the party, but I started noticing that my English and grammar skills aren’t all that necessary to have an intelligent exchange of words on any of my devices.

With predictive text, it is not even necessary to ask myself how I feel about something.

A friend sends me a text that say’s “The baby is finally coming!” I prepare to answer back only to find that my phone has a couple of appropriate suggestions. Out of laziness, I choose one that seems closest to my thought.

Later it occurs to me that I should have at least sent an original thought, even if it was roughly the same.

More often lately, before I have a chance to respond, words appear magically on the screen. My original thoughts are quickly doused. I obediently choose one of the suggestions.

Not only does my smart device know every personal detail about my location and shopping habits, it now knows what I am thinking too.

I don’t have to think for myself or make an emotional decision.

This is happening in other areas of society as well.

No original thoughts required

There are canned responses to just about everything there is to ask about.

We are prompted to acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, and give our sympathies all via social media.

I could go on forever about having original ideas concerning personal appearances, living conditions, family culture, etc. That is for another story.

We are losing our ability to have original thoughts and we are losing the ability to interact with humanity on an intimate level.

Without the need or opportunity to formulate deep and meaningful conversations based on human experiences I am fearful that we will become less compassionate.

We are experiencing the waning of empathy and sympathy in our society. Social media is abounding with the proof of it.

Having empathy requires an intellectual and emotional connection. To comprehend what another person is dealing with, we must be able to fill his or her shoes.

When intellect and emotional output do not cost anything more than a slight acknowledgment, we can become detached and are easily persuaded to dislike our fellow humans.

In some ways, our virtual world has separated us from “knowing” our neighbor. We see every detail via social media, but we skim past it with little attention and little concern.

Technology is changing the way we are required to draw on our intellect and emotions.

I do not know if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a game-changing thing for sure and one that concerns me.

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