Illusion & Reality

School is back in session and the sidewalks are filled with college students bouncing from class to class.  And I do mean bouncing.

It appears that the instance class is out, a student is required to text every friend they have.  Even if said friends were just in the class they had attended.  Odd, I know and perhaps I’m showing my age, but I do notice that most students have their heads buried in their phones, tapping away furiously or reading off messages to other friends who are tapping away furiously at their own phones.

While all this is happening, they’re attempting to weave between other students doing the same thing.  Sometimes this works; more often it results in two people suddenly stopping and looking shocked at the other person in front of them.  If this happens during a really busy/crowded time, you have yet another person texting on their phone who runs into the back of the first person.  Then there’s a person behind them that runs into them and another and another and so forth.  Pandemonium ensues and we have to call in the National Guard to clean up the wreckage.

A moment of silence for the victims of the Paideia Pileup of 2010.  *shiver*

Overall though, I have to say this is a tragedy on a couple of levels.

Tragedy One: I help teach a self-defense class over the J-Term semester.  One of our key principles is ‘Awareness’.  If you don’t know what’s going on around you, it doesn’t matter if you have a black belt or you’re packing a .45.  You’re toast.  Granted, you might survive the encounter, but if you’d been paying attention, would there have been an encounter in the first place?  I suppose you could always text your “OMG being attked. Halp!” to your BFF and see what happens.

Tragedy Two: With your head buried in your phone, you’re missing out on a lot.  I mentioned the other day that I was reminded of a scene from The Phantom Tollbooth in which Milo visits the cities of Illusion and Reality.  The short version (long here or buy the book, it’s a classic) is that someone figured out that if you walked as fast as you could and looked at nothing but your shoes, you’d get to your destination faster.  Meanwhile, all the sights around them faded until one day they vanished and there was nothing to see at all.

So I do my best not to bury my head while I’m out on campus and this is what I got to see:

Ironically, taken with my Android phone

I can only guess that this is what they saw:

Also taken from my Android, but not ironically

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