Life Beyond the Touch Screen
It’s no wake up call that many of us spend way too much time on our phone. Social media have taken over and seem to control our lives. We’re longing for (more) likes and want to share whatever it is we do all day. The questions is why?
We recently read Life Beyond the Touch Screen by Erwin Lima. Erwin describes his view on smartphone addiction and what we can do to make a conscious choice to achieve our own maximum potential. We were curious about his mission and got to ask Erwin a few interesting questions.
What inspired you to write Life Beyond the Touch Screen?
What inspired me to write this book was actually a combination of factors and events. Simply observing the world around us. Working in the technology sector as a marketing strategist for more than six years, a series of interviews with tech visionaries (among which the CEO and CTO of Microsoft NL) named ‘Future: Fast Forward’, and the realization that the true impact of technological innovation was much greater than most seem to understand.
That realization came to me even harder as I was finalizing the book – and found out I was suffering from burnout. Due to stress, due to everything I was asking from myself – and due to serious digital technology overuse. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that digital technology in itself causes stress and burnout, although scientific evidence strongly suggests that it is definitely a part of the problem, and it’s expected to become even more of a problem with the current worldwide lockdowns.
In my view, digital technology is like a (Black) mirror of sorts, that is able to show us what we’re actually spending our time, focus, and energy on – as compared to what we think our Purpose, values and beliefs are. Our digital technology shows us and multiplies what’s already there, working under the surface. In our individual lives, in groups and organizations, and in society at large.
My book is about getting people to understand that function, and to make a conscious choice about the way we want digital technology – or really, anything – to impact our growth and wellbeing.
In what way will your book make people more conscious about their screen time?
This is a tricky one. I want to say: see what my first readers are saying. They’re saying this book is an eye-opener if you work in the tech sector. They’re saying it’s a kind of reality check if you happen to be someone’s mother, partner, co-worker, or friend. They’re saying it’s a beautiful meditation on how we can get the most out of our every minute – with or without our devices.
And that’s what it intends to be. What I intended it to do. I wrote this book to get you to reflect on the impact digital tech has on your life, and the life of people around you. To become aware of that impact. And then to enable you to make a conscious and healthy choice, aligned with your Purpose.
How do you see the future for the next generation(s)?
The quote “The future belongs to those who create it” comes to mind. I honestly believe the future could turn out to be a digitally enabled utopia, with abundant wealth, health, meaning and growth for all – or conversely an equally digitally enabled dystopia; the Matrix before the resistance of Neo, or the picture you get in any of these dark sci-fi films. Or it could be anything in between.
The question is: what do we choose?
I think the first step needs to be to get people to realize what’s going on, and to realize we have some serious choices to make, to begin with. It all starts with increased awareness – and mainly, self-awareness.
What do you think, besides your book & website, needs to be done to
accomplish your mission?
My mission with this book has been to enable you to make a conscious decision about the way tech impacts your wellbeing and personal development; your life. My overall mission is to help people become the best and most beautiful version of themselves.
So, what do we need to make these things possible? What we need to do is what you and I are doing right now: to think about these subjects and to talk about them, spreading the message. Raising our own awareness of what’s going on in the world and within ourselves, and hopefully raising the awareness of others.
Next to that, along with people like Tristan Harris and the Center for Humane Technology, Nir Eyal, Noah Yuval Harari; Ocean.AI and a lot of incumbents in the Decentralized (blockchain) ecosystem, or the Weconomics foundation here in the Netherlands – we need to be seriously advocating the cause of designing and implementing tech for the greater good.
Most of all, we need a global cultural shift. Paulo Coelho, the Dalai Lama and others have said something along the lines of: “We need a revolution of consciousness to go along with the revolution in technology we are currently living through”.
I believe that revolution starts with a revolution in our self-awareness. And that starts with mindful, purposeful and very, very honest self-reflection.