Be Here Now

In every class I teach at the University of Portland, this message in on the syllabus:

“Be here now” is such a simple concept yet is increasingly difficult to do. Cell phones and laptops and iPods and tablets and headphones ... it’s really no wonder we find our attention in one place shifting to thoughts and behaviors in another. One of our greatest challenges in this class will be for all of us to “be here now” when we are together. Although we have numerous screens and devices competing for our attention, it is important for our class community that we do our best to remain in the social space of the classroom and with one another. While it is tempting to shop the aisles of Amazon or refresh Instagram, we must aim to be present in our social learning space and to be mindful of the distraction a screen creates, not only for the user, but to those around him or her. An open and illuminated screen nearby is like second-hand smoke: you like to think you can avoid it, but eventually you choke. When someone is online next to you in class, it’s hard not to get drawn in.

My message today is simple: be wherever you are.

Car lights moving around city.jpg

One of the greatest challenges coming our way because of the immersive nature of technology will be for us to collectively redefine what it means to “be” somewhere. Given that, one of the best things we can do as humans at the doorstep of a new immersive reality is to acknowledge our current social spaces and the people in them.

When we are fully present in our social spaces, we enrich them and we are enriched by them. As more virtual social spaces emerge and challenge our sense of what it means to be somewhere, we must respond accordingly and be where we are now .........