Technology vs. Creativity | Teen Ink

Technology vs. Creativity

November 5, 2011
By NicoleG. BRONZE, Woburn, Massachusetts
NicoleG. BRONZE, Woburn, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Dance is the hidden language of the soul."
~Martha Graham

Over time, more advances are made in technology and the way people incorporate them in their daily lives. These developments are necessary for the progression of society, but sometimes the constant attachment that someone has to their personal devices can get out of hand. This problem exists among all age groups, but it is most prevalent in teenagers and young adults. Now, even when teens are spending time with each other, most will still direct equal or more attention toward their technological devices. People have come to rely on these objects for entertainment and companionship during any time of boredom or inactivity. Technology is also a way of conforming to society, because cell phones and internet access are something that nearly everyone in this country has. People have become dependent on these advantages far beyond the point of necessity, and this over usage is inversely affecting the way we view boredom, creativity and social interaction.

The overabundance of technology in modern society is having detrimental effects on the production of creative thought. In “The Heady Thrill of Having Nothing to Do,” Scott Adams presents the themes of boredom and creativity, and what life would be without these ideas. The article shows how all of the technology available to people today could in fact have negative consequences. This technology will lead to the lack of creative thought in the world, because society generally spends more time consumed with pre-fabricated entertainment than thinking about how to entertain themselves. Therefore, one main conclusion can be drawn from Adams’ ideas: simply use electronic devices in moderation. I believe that being constantly consumed by a digital screen that endlessly bombards a person with information can be almost hypnotic, consequently leading to less interaction with the outside world. This idea may be challenging in a world where cell phones and laptops are required for jobs and school, but the results of spending some time away from these gadgets can be rewarding. With fewer distractions from games, videos, chatting, and countless other methods, people could then use their time in more productive and beneficial ways.

Electronics have interfered with creativity as a result of our unwillingness or inability to cope with boredom. The article “Boredom is Extinct” by Walter Kirn relates to Adams by sharing similar views on the relationship between boredom and technology. Like Adams, Kirn believes that people regard boredom as something negative and use technology to expel that emotion from their lives. As Kirn explains, “[Boredom] ‘descended’ on you. You ‘escaped’ from it, you ‘fled’ it. Or you ‘dispelled’ it, as though it were fog. This wasn’t always easy to do; sometimes the boredom was just too thick, too ‘heavy’” (1). The adjectives used in this passage describe how boredom is considered to be a burden, and people will do anything to avoid this dreaded state. Kirn also relays that imagination was the old solution to boredom, but that method was soon replaced with the technologies of today. In “Lost in Electronica,” Adam J. Cox stresses the importance of boredom as well, explaining that boredom plays a crucial part in expanding the mind. I have come to infer from these articles that without the presence of occasional boredom, we cannot expand our ways of thinking or become more comprehensive individuals.

Prime creative moments often occur during the peak of boredom. George F. Will writes about Cox’s views in “Lost in Electronica,” where he emphasizes Cox’s belief that young adults need to experience boredom if they want to eventually become successful in life. Cox explains, “Unlike reading and listening to stories, the blitz of electronica doesn’t build deeper listening skills or a greater range of emotional expression” (Will 2). Since technology is not very interactive, we are not often challenged intellectually when using them. I agree with this statement, and I think we could all benefit from incorporating more thought-provoking activities into our daily routines. Instead of resorting to Facebook or text messages during a moment of free time, one could read a chapter of a book as an alternative. Engaging in more intriguing pastimes will help allow thoughts to flow more freely without any influences or distractions.

The main solution to the creativity gap is to have a balance between machinery and self-expression. While completely eliminating technology from our lives is unnecessary, there is also generally no need for excessive use. There are various other methods of spending one’s time that could be far more beneficial for the body and mind. For example, simply taking a leisurely walk around the block without any disruptions could allow time for the mind to wander and reflect. In actuality, any type of exercise can assist in thought stimulation. Aside from the obvious physical gains, exercising also promotes positive mental health. Any type of physical activity will leave the mind feeling refreshed and clear. This example is just one of many ways to enhance our lifestyles and avoid the damaging effects of technical overload.

People tend to depend on their electronics to perform simple, everyday tasks. In “Teaching the iGeneration,” Larry D. Rosen further develops the idea that the current generation of young people uses their gadgets during almost every waking moment of the day. Rosen witnessed this connection firsthand at a family reunion. He explains, “The children [at the reunion] ranged from age 10 to 18. As we were all talking, someone asked a question about a specific movie. Immediately, every kid pulled out a smartphone, and within 30 seconds they all had answers” (Rosen 1). This statement reveals that people are growing too dependent on technology. With Google, Facebook, email and GPS at our fingertips, these devices hold all of the solutions anyone could need. This instant access to endless information will subsequently cause people to lose their problem solving skills.

This unnecessary electronic usage has also caused our society to lack resourcefulness. If all of the cellphones were to disappear tomorrow and the internet was shut down, the world would be in a state of chaos. Most people would simply not know how to function without their gadgets by their sides. In “Too Much Information,” John Garvey’s ideas connect to Rosen’s article because he also focuses on people’s accessibility to any possible information they need. Garvey believes that people spend too much time hooked to their smartphones, and these devices have become too distracting. In my opinion, people stay glued to their electronics out of fear of becoming disconnected with the world. With a smartphone by their side, they can always know what is happening either locally or globally with just the click of a button. Another click of a button will also allow them to instantly talk to anyone they would like. Another theory for this generation’s internet obsession is that they have grown to become impatient. With the perpetual availability of information, people have no reason to wait for the information that they want. Therefore, these advantages should be used in moderation in order to stay in touch with reality.

Another reason people choose to rely on technology is because it is easier to interact electronically. This convenience of technological communication has consequently limited face-to-face interactions. On any given day, I am far more likely to see someone typing on their cellphone or on a social networking website than actually holding a conversation with another person. People have come to count on their machines to simulate real social connections. Rosen also agrees that our technological advances have redefined the way we communicate. If people spent more time together sharing their ideas, they could learn more about others and themselves. Verbal communication is a lot more interesting than the shorthand texts found on the internet; it allows ideas to be challenged and expanded upon.

With more technology existing today, there is less time to experience boredom and ultimately creativity. All five authors of the previously mentioned articles along with myself agree that while electronic devices are extremely helpful and convenient, there are many more important ways to spend one’s time. Usually when most people have a spare moment, they will automatically reach to their pocket for their iPod of cellphone. Whether they are on a train, walking to their next class or anywhere in between, people can never seem to detach themselves from these objects. Simply unplugging from the electronics for a while and taking some time to yourself will allow you to see from a different perspective. Creativity is necessary in order for people to explore and express themselves. Without self-expression, there would be no inspiration or motivation to investigate new ideas. Therefore, we should reevaluate our priorities and realize that we do not need electronic devices to think for ourselves.

The author's comments:
This is a research paper that I wrote for my college English class, and my professor suggested that I should submit it. This piece highlights the use of technology among teens and young adults, and how this issue disrupts their creative thoughts.

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