Technology vs. Nature: A Personal Story

technology

I recently bought a new car brimming with advanced technologies, including adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, and a rearview camera. Despite having mastered parking over the years and the new car being the exact same size as my old one, the sensors constantly beep, warning me that I am “too close” to the walls. The other day, I realized that this incessant beeping introduces a small yet noticeable stress I hadn’t experienced before. It’s a subtle tension, but it’s there, affecting me. Despite all the years of experience in this same parking spot, it has made me doubt my capability.

This small stress reflects a broader issue—how technology, despite its conveniences, can sometimes disrupt our peace. As I left my home for the office that afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice how the city around me is constantly growing. New skyscrapers are being constructed, smart traffic lights control the flow, and electric vehicles are becoming more common. The city is alive and evolving, a testament to the rapid technological advancements shaping our lives.

Back to the Future...in the past

Arriving at our new Talent Hacks office, I never stop enjoying the seamless experience of entering thanks to the fingerprint scanner that not only grants access but also triggers a series of automated actions. The the lights switch on, the curtains open, and the coffee machine starts brewing. Alexa cheerfully greets the first person who enters with the cheesiest joke, never failing to put a smile on my face. Lately she’s been offering a Despicable Me version of these jokes. What else?

This whole setup encourages me to reminisce to my primary school days, almost 30 years ago. I remember my teacher dragging the old classic bulky TV on a stand, with a VHS player underneath, through the classroom to show us a videotape he brought from his recent trip to the USA. The tape showcased the smart houses of the future, features that seemed incredibly futuristic at the time but are now part of our everyday reality. Watching that tape with my innocent eyes, I remember how awed I was, saying, “My dream house will have all those features.”

Destination: Nature

Reflecting on this transition from childhood dreams to present reality, I realize how technology has seamlessly integrated into our lives. Gradually, step by step, like a tiny little bionic ninja, it has snuck its way not only into our homes and offices, but also into our routines and subconscious reactions. However, these conveniences come with their own set of pressures and stresses.

As I packed my equipment from the office, preparing for a journey, I left with the press of a button, shutting down all systems and enabling the alarm. Destination: the village of Kalopanayiotis, a beautiful location in the mountains where I was to document one of the Talent Hacks corporate retreats.

As I left the city, the traffic thinned, and the environment became more serene. Driving through the forest and into the mountains, the pace of life seemed to slow down. The world felt different, more relaxed. I even started driving slower, more calmly into the sunset. Even though I had visited Kalopanayiotis several times for business or leisure, its beauty and location never ceases to amaze me. This shift from the persistent hustle of the city to the peaceful embrace of nature highlighted a stark contrast in my daily experiences.

Technology who?

Laying in bed of my charming village rental, I was almost overwhelmed by the sheer silence. I could practically hear my own thoughts. It gave a whole new meaning to the concept of noise.

The next morning, I opened the window to a majestic view of the mountains. The mountain looked like a giant who got tired and lay on a hill to sleep, and he slept and slept for so long that nature grew over him. This view changed my usual morning rush into a calm, reflective state. I stepped outside barefoot and sat under this huge old tree in the yard. The tree was ‘snowing’ its yellow flowers all over me, as if to welcome me into its home. It felt so alive as I listened to the loud buzz of the bees.

I started my day with some morning exercise, followed by meditation, soaking in the peacefulness and bliss of the place. The difference was profound compared to my typical city mornings. Instead of driving, I walked down the narrow village streets, immersing myself in the natural beauty around me. No noises, no cars, no rush—just peace. The days grew longer. My thoughts got simpler.

How are we evolving?

One afternoon, I visited a small exhibition of old photos, over 100 years old, displayed under the conference room of the hotel in Kalopanayiotis. These photos depicted the life of people in the village from a century ago. My colleague Taz was there with me, and as we looked at the photos, I asked him, “Imagine bringing one of these people into the present. What would they think about the world? They would see technologies that their brains couldn’t conceive. Everything would seem completely overwhelming, and they would feel alienated.”

Taz was busy reading about the journey of some of the earliest educators of our country, who needed to perform all their teachings in secret, hiding their classrooms. He was interrupted by his watch which cautioned him to regulate his breathing. We giggled at how spoiled we had become. What if the heroes in the photos could look back at us? What would they say?

This thought experiment led us to ponder further. “So,” I continued, “imagine someone taking us 100 years into the future. What would we see there? Even with today’s knowledge of technology, imagine the things that would be completely unheard of for us.”

Breaking our Gadgety Habits

These reflections highlighted the contrast between our technologically advanced daily routine and the natural simplicity surrounding us. Our lives have become so fast-paced that sometimes it feels like we’re running in a hamster wheel, with no real direction. Our smartwatches are glued to our wrists, constantly reminding us what we ‘missed,’ how to sleep correctly, how to breathe, and when to drink water.

It’s ironic that devices like these exist to remind us how to do what we’ve always done naturally. Despite my appreciation for new technologies and the conveniences they bring, my time in the village made me realize the importance of maintaining a connection with nature. Our well-being depends on this balance.

On my walk back to my humble abode, my pace was slightly slower. Work was out of the way and environmental awareness was at its peak. I took everything in. Every smell, every noise, every small gust of wind. I closed my eyes and yet they felt wide open. As I turned a corner, I gasped at the view of the mountain side that unfolded before me. I stopped in my tracks.

I felt my left hand reaching for my phone to take a snapshot which I could then share with my family. Thankfully I stopped myself. When was the last time you stopped and really took in all the beauty of your surroundings? Not to freeze it in binary code on your phone, but really see it with your biological sensors, to listen to it, to smell it, to feel it?

While technology undoubtedly makes our lives easier, it’s crucial to balance it with nature. Our well-being depends on staying connected with the natural world, not just for the peace it brings but for the sense of grounding and reality it offers in our intense, technology-driven lives.

As I reflect on my experience in Kalopanayiotis, I realize that it provided me with a much-needed respite from the constant demands of modern life. It allowed me to slow down, breathe, and reconnect with what truly matters. This balance between technology and nature is not just a luxury but a necessity for our mental and emotional health.

Conclusion

The calm and clarity I found in the village reminded me that while technology can enhance our lives, it should not dominate them. We need to make conscious efforts to integrate nature into our daily routines, whether through a simple walk in a park, spending weekends in natural settings, or just taking moments to appreciate the natural beauty around us.

In our quest for progress and efficiency, we must not lose sight of the simple joys and profound peace that nature offers. By striking a balance between technology and nature, we can lead richer, more fulfilling lives that honor both our modern advancements and our natural heritage.

Driving back to the city after my stay in Kalopanayiotis, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and clarity. The cityscape, with its towering buildings and bustling streets, no longer seemed overwhelming. Instead, I saw it as a part of the larger picture of my life, one that includes moments of calm and connection with nature. The beeping of the parking sensors as I arrived home felt less irritating and stressful, a reminder that while technology has its place, it does not need to be in the spotlight.

The journey between technology and nature is not about choosing one over the other but about finding a harmonious balance that enriches our lives.

nature

Aleksandar Yonchev

Part of our creative team, Alex thrives on crafting moving frames. A sucker for psychology and human nature, he loves turning insights into captivating visuals. When he's not behind the camera, he's probably analyzing why he enjoys it so much—because, why not?

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