The purpose of screens

There’s a screen at the entrance to the subway station near my apartment: I hadn’t noticed it until a few days ago, but there it is, displaying ads for X Factor and Pixar’s latest movie.  There’s also a screen on the building across from my office, more screens on top of the taxis on Broadway, and another screen that travels everywhere in my right pants pocket.  It seems like screens are everywhere these days.

Screens are everywhere

What do screens offer us?  What is their purpose?  At least some of the time, screens bring something into our immediate environment in order to transport us out of it (we can all remember being thoroughly engrossed in a movie, only to realize when it ends that the dishes are still in the sink…).

Screens are a portal to somewhere else.

Sometimes a portal is exactly what we need in order to be informed, inspired or relaxed; but a portal can also be a distraction from the most important time and place of all: right here, right now.

You’re reading this on a screen.  For ten seconds, stop reading and look around you: if you didn’t have a screen in front of you so much of the time, what would you pay more attention to?  What would you appreciate more, and what would you do differently?

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