Do smartphones make people more shallow?

I probably shouldn’t post this blog. I share some of the guilt. After all, I’m a producer of internet content.

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I felt creeping despair.

Balboa Park is an amazing, wonderful, special place. Lifted eyes see a world that is infinitely interesting and beautiful.

About one third of the people I observed had their eyes absolutely fixed to the tiny screens of their smartphones. They were too obsessed to notice the vast world around them. Nor other people around them.

Of these, many were grown adults searching for a virtual Pokemon, a game fit for the simple mind of a child. At least these people looked up from time to time.

Yes, I know some people were busy communicating with friends, or perhaps looking up information, or a map of the park.

I also know that our lives are complex and so is human psychology. Everyone is different. I, too, have my silly, simple pleasures. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions. Technology changes. The culture changes. People change. Fads come and go.

But it does appear that humans are powerfully drawn to stimuli on isolated screens.

And, of course, the wonderful thing about smartphones is they can make life so much easier. Eye-to-eye politeness is no longer required. The potential for vulnerability in spontaneously spoken words is thankfully avoided. Problem solving is automatic. Critical thinking is less and less necessary. Simple and self-comforting ideas flood social media. Self absorption is made as easy as pie. Narcissism is rewarded.

I often wonder, as virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent, whether people will permanently insert their whole selves into shallow, shrinking virtual worlds. The Matrix, of our own calculated making.

If it feels good, why fight it?

A very brief story about life and memory.

Please forgive me. I’ve written another short story and now I’m going to tell you about it.

This brief work of fiction is titled Another Page. It’s all about life and memory. And those shining, magical things that fill one’s life and memory.

That ephemeral brightness.

You will probably recognize the central character. There’s a very good chance you know that person intimately.

To read the story, click here.

A day to celebrate reading across America!

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley

It’s time to celebrate Read Across America Day!

Today many hands, young and old, will be picking up a book or their favorite e-book reader. Many eyes and minds will be enjoying that uniquely human activity: reading!

Why is March 2 designated National Read Across America Day? Because it’s the birthday of Dr. Seuss!

As many of you know, Dr. Seuss was the pen name of Theodor Geisel, who made his home in La Jolla, a beautiful community in the city of San Diego.

Months ago during a walk through La Mesa, a city in San Diego’s East County, I took photos of a chalkboard that was standing on the sidewalk in front of Maxwell’s House of Books.

Please enjoy two quotes about the magic of reading!

Books are a uniquely portable magic. Stephen King
Books are a uniquely portable magic. Stephen King

Would you like to read a few philosophical, very short stories?

They can be found on my website Short Stories by Richard!

A story about creativity, truth and deception.

A patient spider waits for flies.
A patient spider waits for flies.

My short story The Taste of Flies has been bothering me. It hasn’t seemed right.

Even after publishing it on Short Stories by Richard, I’ve rewritten many of the words over and over and over again.

I think–possibly–that I now have the thing right. The unusual tale is about creativity, truth and deception. And impulsion. And indecision. It seems to be about a great many difficult things.

You can read the very short story here.

A street art poem about coming home.

A bit of wisdom by poet Sunny Rey painted on a utility box in City Heights. True Love is a returning...A homecoming...Love awakes the child in you...
A bit of wisdom by poet Sunny Rey painted on a utility box in City Heights. True Love is a returning…A homecoming…Love awakes the child in you…And walks you through your final door…

I read touching words this morning during a short walk down University Avenue in City Heights. A poem was painted on one side of a utility box; images of a father and son’s love decorated other sides.

The beautiful street art and its poem were about growing older, and wiser, and coming home.

Street art in City Heights on University Avenue shows a father and son holding hands, walking down the sidewalk.
Street art in City Heights on University Avenue shows a father and son holding hands, walking down the sidewalk.

I’ve finished another short story. A Steep Hill is about an old man who undertakes very difficult journeys near his home. If you like, you can read it here.

A short story about social media and isolation.

This morning I wrote a short story titled One Thousand Likes. It touches upon the human heart, the pleasure produced by facile happiness, and the dark, isolating effect of social media.

To read it, click here.

Writing short stories in San Diego.

I confess that I have a nefarious scheme. I have a hidden motive behind Cool San Diego Sights.

My wish is to have readers visit Short Stories by Richard. That’s where my short works of fiction are published.

Yes, I enjoy walking all around San Diego taking photographs, but there is something that I love infinitely more: writing creatively. When the muse is present, and my pen is moving, I feel that I can grasp the entire cosmos with one hand. I feel that I can clearly interpret the Ultimate for one brief instant. I have a sense of purpose. I feel completely alive.

My walks by water, past art, through parks, around hills and gardens, down busy sidewalks–my short daily journeys are a source for inspiration. Framing photographs energizes the eyes. Searching in every direction for life helps me to find it.

Writing short stories in San Diego is my passion. Even when my mind is blocked, my eyes and heart are not. There is always plenty of sunshine.

Short Stories by Richard now has thirty nine stories and two small poems. I welcome you into my private scheme. Come peer into secret places.