By: Sherif Khairy Blessings may be disguised as tests. They come in different shapes and may form a benefit or a doubt. You see, any useful thing has its downside, and underneath the shell lies that doubt. I’m not speaking of a mischievous edge lurking in the dark, or a risk hiding and biding its time. Doubt is different. Doubt is calmer and more subtle. Doubt may not be felt, but it lingers. A table gathering friends, I doubt they’re really connected. There’s a student in a lecture, but he’s not really connecting. Talking down to someone is bad, but so is looking down when talking to someone. Do you know the electronic pose? When you address a person holding his/her phone, and you’re replied to with silence, just before he absently asks you to repeat what you said. How about the wait-a-sec hand gesture, followed by a painfully fake: “you were saying?” We’re making our lives… lifeless. Emotions become dampened when they spread through an electronic vessel. Technology brought us connection, but it’s slowly taking life out of our communication. Technology facilitated our lives, and gave us tons of ways to save time, but then it conquered our free time almost instantly. Let me elaborate. What happens when you’re alone? When you’re sitting with one friend, what thought first crosses your mind if that person gets up to go somewhere? How about when you’re bored in transportation? Even when driving! It’s becoming an instinct, a reflex. Have you ever reached for your pocket instinctively and realized you didn’t have your phone on you? It felt bad, didn’t it? But I bet the need for it felt worse. Smartphones keep us occupied, all the time, and it deprives us of solitude. You’re never alone if you have your smartphone, and that’s not a good thing. With the phone holding us, our minds are never left to be. The phone holding us keeps bombarding needles, trivial data, forming barriers that keep our emotions caged in. The deep thoughts and core feelings within us never surface, and we lose touch of who we really are. We’ve allowed our lives to be conquered so invasively by smartphones that we’re forgetting how to be alone. But what about the new generations who never even had the practice we did? By time it gets worse, and it scares us. So what’s the solution? It’s simple. Seek solitude. Learn to feel complete without the need of a person or a device or even a book. Learn to fully absorb your surroundings. Learn to hear nothing but the voices inside. Learn to be alone; alone in its original meaning, a sense of completeness in one's singular being. “You need to build an ability to just be yourself, and not be doing something,” was one way comedian Louis C.K. described our constant need for our phones, it was also the inspiration behind this article. Watch more of what he had to say about our smartphone habits below... We don’t need to be lonely, but sometimes we need to be alone.