Staying balanced in the age of technology | Editorial

With great inventions can come unforeseen consequences.

We’ve seen the positive side of the internet: connecting friends and family, sharing knowledge of the world around us, doing business from afar, spreading social awareness – the list goes on.

And now we’ve seen the negative side: social isolation, self-absorption, bullying, instant gratification, impatience.

Paul Roberts, author of the book “The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification,” is speaking at Orcas Center on March 29 about modern’s society pursuit of short-term self-gratification.

Roberts says humans are hard-wired to be producers and much happier overall when being part of something bigger than themselves.

In our interview with him, we were surprised to learn one of the antidotes to this problem: community.

And what better place to see this in action than Orcas Island?

Roberts says places like Orcas are a great example of how to set standards for members of a community. People will behave in ways that are socially accepted. In the city, listening to music or looking at a phone while walking down the street is considered normal. In contrast, that would be considered abnormal here.

So how do we keep these standards thriving in a time when younger generations define themselves by their ability to use social media?

We stay engaged. We talk to our kids. We talk to each other. We continue to support the arts, athletic activities, outdoor pursuits, small farms, craftspeople and nonprofits.

We work with our hands and our minds and spend just a little less time online and a little more with each other, building and sustaining this special community.