CRONOS vs. KAIROS
It is the first time in the history of humanity in which the human specie is connected in this way. But, curiously, these great technological advances are bringing many contradictions: are we who use technology or is it who uses us? Are we more free than before or less? Do we have more free time or less? At core, we are all becoming “cyborgs” –that is a being formed by living matter and electronic devices. We certainly are not Robocop or Terminator but from the moment in which the mobile phone has become an extension of our body we are a cyborg (and we even knew it!). In fact, our external brain is in our pocket and it is the mobile phone. Humans are more and more merged with technology and we use the phone to store the data that we used to keep in our heads.
Amber Case is a well-known Cyber-anthropologist, she studies the relationship between humans and machines and tries to introduce a humanistic point of view in technological progress. She shared some interesting reflections in an article published in EL MUNDO, one of Spanish leading newspapers, on November 29, 2017. According to Mrs. Case: "The promise of technology was that it was going to provide us with more time, more freedom and more creativity, but we are in the era of distraction and we have less time than ever. In our daily lives we are constantly interrupted by mobile phones, to which we resort between 1,000 and 2,000 times throughout the day. All this amount of distraction and messages that call our attention supposes that we are running out of time to think, to interact”, to live, I would add.
“During the time without stimulus is when the human being thinks about the creation of his own self, makes long-term plans and tries to find out who he really is," says Case. Mrs. Case goes back to Antiquity to explain the dichotomy. The Greeks, she adds, had two words to refer to time: the cronos and the kairos. The first concept refers to chronological or linear time, while the second means special time, that moment of inner silence where creativity arose. She appeals us “to recover the kairos, that moment in which human beings create, and enjoy life, because we are currently only staying with the cronos, with a meticulously planned, never-ending agenda”.
For this reason, she fights for a quieter technology that does not require our attention all the time and that also works when we ignore it. It is a technology that tries to reduce overstimulation and information overload so that the user decides what data is really important. Mrs. Case insists again and again in taking control of our life: "We need to recover our time and to be human again, we need creative time, time to do nonsense, to be children again ... " How can we do it? For example, putting into practice small things: put the phone in airplane mode for an afternoon, disable notifications, stop responding emails from a certain time at night etc.
Sounds sensible, isn’t it? Let’s try, at least for two or three ours, to see how it feels.