Slot machines make more money in the United States than baseball, movies, and theme parks combined. Relative to other kind of gambling, people get addicted to slot machines 3 to 4 times faster. But here a sad truth: several billion people carry something worse than a slot machine in their pockets. The cell phone its applications prove to be many times more addictive even than a slot machine.
- When we pull the phone out of our pocket, we are playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got.
- When we pull to refresh our email, we are plaing a slot machine to see what new email we received.
- When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we are playing a slot machine to see what phone comes next.
- We we tap on the whatsapp icon it is to see what our friends are doing.
Cell phones provide an immediate and cheap reward: a new message, another mail is at our fingertips. The fear of missing something important hijacks the mind. The need to belong to a group, to be appreciated by our peers is among the highest human motivations. Now social approval is available through this small device and the numerous forms of social media it allows access to.
Advent should be a time for silence, that is, for thought, contemplation, and stillness. It is also an ideal time for us to set aside our daily cell phone addictions and cure ourselves, at least for a little while.
Now is the time to put away your phone and take this season of Advent as an opportuntiy for reflection on what is profound, lasting, and essential, namely Our Lord Jesus Christ and his immeasurable love for us all.