Google isn’t always the solution

Winter Keefer

While walking through the library a few weeks back I came across a shelf holding a riddle written on a folded piece of paper towel.

The riddle asked: “What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?” My immediate response to this question was to think, “I’ll have to Google this later.” Then, a little “p.s.” written at the bottom of the makeshift note caught my eye.

In answer to the voice in my head, the message written below the riddle reprimanded me, saying: “Don’t Google it.”

I stood there frozen in the stacks, lost as to what to do next. And, quite frankly, now I see that this reaction was more than a little bit ridiculous. I was acting as if having to critically think without technology at my fingertips was an absurd inconvenience.

This internal struggle lasted no longer than a minute, but it has stayed on my mind.

While the pros and cons of rapidly advancing technology is an ever-present topic, I never thought about how I contribute to it.

After spending a long night in contemplation, I realized that I am an addict. My hand constantly itches to scroll through mindless media, my attention span has suffered from constant accessibility to fast-pace entertainment and when asked a question or challenged by a riddle, I jump straight to the easy answer found through a quick search—an easy fix for my craving for… knowledge?

I see now that this addiction is one that many of us will have to fight through our lifetime. While technology is clearly a huge component of the future, it terrifies me that it has inadvertently made it possible for people to avoid thinking through a challenge. I can’t help wondering what this will mean in the long term.

For me, I know that I have to be aware of and constantly fighting the urge to grab my phone for an easy answer or for entertainment when I have down time. I remember when I was younger I would feel bored out of my mind when I had to wait for my mom or dad after work.

But now that I have a phone, I miss being bored because at least I had some quiet time to read or think or do absolutely nothing.

Now, even when alone in a room, I never really feel alone because of technology. I don’t think that this is a good thing and I’m afraid that I’ve gotten too used to the ruckus that comes with constant access. Honestly, when I look around half of the people I pass through the halls appear to be mindless robots, their eyes blank, staring at a rectangular screen.

What I have been trying to do recently to fight the handheld machines that control our lives is tear myself away from media and start reading for fun again. I tricked myself into believing that I didn’t have time for this anymore, but that just wasn’t true. If I’m honest, I could read a whole book in three weeks if I spent the same amount of time reading as I do on social media.

As for the riddle that I came across in the library, I eventually caved and asked someone what the answer was. You, however, will have to try to solve the riddle yourself. Take on the challenge, put down your phone and fight the urge to Google the answer.