In todays world of over stimulation we are slammed with so much stimuli that our brains are now so saturated with input that we are in danger of becoming a world of ADDD or Attention Deficit Disorderly Doofuses*. Normal television and movies include edits ever quarter of a second. The camera is always moving and it is more about the crane shot than the performer. The internet and youtube have made the 2 minute clip a staple of how we communicate.

Now don't get me wrong I too am drinking the ADDD Coolaid™. My iPhone™ has not left my side since the first day Apple parted the seas and anointed it to me. I was on a trip recently and lost power with no charger and thought my head was going to explode. I had to actually have a conversation with the person next to me on the airplane!!!!

The good thing is we can create our own reality. Media, news, art, music can all be custom tailored to our interests and passions. It has helped me steer away from the media fear mongering that the normal nightly news likes to peddle to keep us afraid. I have learned so much more listening to podcasts on my iPhone while traveling than I ever did getting the only station available with Rush Limbaugh screaming at me on the radio.

At a recent NACA showcase this year I went out into the audience to watch another comedian and 50% of the audience were looking down with their brains sucking on their smart phones. The glow of the screens with the slumped heads ignoring the guy on stage was disturbing. Here is performer, that has been trying to get the word out about his show, that has finally gotten a chance to show his stuff and half of those eyes never give him a glance. This was most notable in the energy in the crowd. Before the CrackBerry craze a NACA showcase was one of the best crowds of the year, a massive cohesive audience all powering the performer on stage and sharing in the moment. When the device is in charge you miss the real world and we begin the decent in the world of the matrix.

The most personal slap in the face was after a gig, a student took me out to dinner and the entire meal she was texting her friends under the table with an occasional half hearted "Uh-huh", then back down to her text. In her mind, she thought it was subtle but all it said to me was "you don't matter".

So what do we do about it?


As they say in the Tony Award winning Broadway Musical by Southpark creator Matt Stone "The Book of Mormon", TURN IT OFF (http://tinyurl.com/8a27wyu). It is a hard first step but forcing your self to look up and not let the magic glow suck you back down is the first step to a cure. The initial shock of not having instant updates about your sisters cousins best friends Facebook status is a little jarring.


Be conscious of those around you and try to set aside time to check in and catch up. You will get it done faster and more efficiently if you focus on the one task and not trying to multi-task.


Be present in the moment. Look up and watch. Live theater is a transforming event that can take you to a whole new realm, but you have to give yourself over to it. You will not get caught up in the story or get the joke if half your brain is in the "interwebs".


Try taking one day off a week from any electronic gadget. Open a window, go for a walk, go play "real" tennis (yes, there is another version besides the Wii).


Technology has changed my life. It has allowed me to build the only LIVE 3D Show (yes you wear 3D glasses) and run all the lights, video, sound, fog, lasers, heart monitor, midi piano and microphones without anyone else needed. I can find my way to a gig in Iowa as easily as I can find the fastest route to the US Embassy in Zimbabwe. We are not going to stop our brains from loving the stimulation of all the technology available to us, but we can start to be aware of the effort it take to do less. Watch the show, be in the moment and have a conversation.

To Quote the Matrix

Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?
Morpheus: You've never used them before.

*IAD (iPhone Addiction Disorder) is a real thing. See http://tinyurl.com/cuqq5wn


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