Don’t just look… Feel! What Life Without Technology Is Like
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Photographer Niki Boon currently resides on a 10-acre property in New Zealand. She explains, “My children are unschooled and live without TV or modern electronic devices, a lifestyle that may seem unconventional to some, but I am here to celebrate the magical place I choose to live with my family.” (Source: MyModernMet)
“I believe, in documenting life with raw honesty and that there is beauty in the ordinary. I am inspired by the everyday, the moments and the details within. I believe that within the mundane lie the connections, the relationships and the essence of your family, your story. This is what lifts us up, carries us and keeps us grounded when times are tough, and what I am driven to capture in photographs…. Pictures that will remind you not only what your life looked like, but what it felt like.” (Niki Boon)
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Today’s society has bowed down to a myth of comfort. It’s a myth that promises everything at your fingertips. Easy-going, simple and balanced. We want something, we search for it, we get it. We choose delivery over discovery.
Children in this sense are brimming with wisdom. They can’t stand to sit still. Mediocrity simply makes no sense to them. They don’t want balance, they want greatness! Boredom is their greatest nightmare. Discovery, they only thing that doesn’t fit in the agenda but makes it the day worth living.
And while there are many praiseworthy elements of technology today, one can’t help but ask: When was the last time you were willing to suffer a few bug bites in order to wait for that shooting star deep in the night sky? When was the last time you used your legs and not your touchscreen to discover life from a new angle? When was the last time you got dirty and maybe a little scraped up just for a few breaths of fresh air? It’s not about sensuality. It’s about rediscovering authentic emotion and sense-ability, that fascinating ability that touches every part of our bodies which allows us to open ourselves to the wonders of the world around us.
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Why are we so intent on emerging ourselves in virtual reality when true reality has wonders that far surpass any keywords that come to mind for Google’s database? Could it not be because we have lost touch with our own creativity, our own unique riches? What about that beauty and wonder that flows from within? Since when did we start believing that a game on the iPad is better than blowing bubbles in your soda or hearing a fairytale told by mom and dad?
The average person looks at their cellphone around 85 times a day. What would happen if we decided to look into the eyes of those we love and wonder at their beauty and mystery 85 more times each day?
So often our intolerance to pain makes us even less sensible to the joys and pleasures of our lives. We’ve taken the rollercoaster of life and tried to transform it into a walking sidewalk. What results? Boredom. That feeling we get when have squeezed out all that is unique and particular in the world, tinged it with our own fears, and soaked it with our own demands.
This applies even more so to the ups and downs of our relationships with others. If we constantly prefer delivery over discovery, mediocrity over marvel… what chance do we have of waking up every day to the ones we love and discover something truly new and marvelous in them?
These pictures are littered with surprises and emotions. They are, as Ms. Boon likes to say, “raw.” They don’t hide neither their wonder nor their pain. Every day is a discovery, a first time, a moment to wake up and see the world from a different angle.
Technology, more than satisfy our desires, many times looks to tame them and submit them to itself. The path of faith however is, one sense, the opposite: it is the path of learning to desire authentically. It looks to enkindle the desire and expectation of the beloved. It rejects balance (in the mediocre sense) and embraces the tensions that demand Truth, Beauty, and Hope.
When Jesus invites us to be like children, I believe he is looking for a heart full of desire.
Desire for vision: Faith.
Desire for possession: Hope.
Desire for love: Charity.
By expectation, God increases desire.
By desire, he empties out souls.
In emptying them out, he makes them more capable of receiving him.St. Agustine
We would like to thank Niki Boon for sharing her wonderful talent and vision with the world together with the permission to publish her photos on Catholic-Link.