Don't kid yourself or your kids: texting isn't talking; an email is not an embrace; Facebook isn't face to face; and families don't bond on phones.
By Kevin Somers
Published May 29, 2009
Because there's instant access to info, family, foe, or friend, people are supposedly better off in recent decades. Society has thrown its arms around electronic devices like they're Jesus or jewelery, but it's not all milk and money in Blackberry Land.
Undoubtedly, communication is critical to success, but too much of anything is unhealthy and, ultimately, unsuccessful.
I'm not against technological advances. They've been with us since day one, after all. The first caveman with a spear, for example, would have experienced improved hunting, defence, and expansion. As a result, he was more attractive to the caveladies: success! His envious, covetous caveneighbour then set out to make a better weapon.
That imperative has led to the nuclear bomb, however. Knowing when to say, "When," is a problem with electronic gadgets, too.
People are linked, but each of us is a singular entity. It's poetic and true: I am the only one of me and you're the only one of you. I'm an island and you're an island, too. An island, by its virtue, stands alone.
A fixed-link, even if it's virtual or wireless, only diminishes the character, quality, and viability of an island. Thanks to portable, personal electronics, people are never really alone any more and it's counter-productive.
Being alone in a vehicle, for example, has been entirely changed by technology. Until recently, traveling meant isolation: a perfect place to plot or ponder, but gadgets have changed that. The stresses of home and office are suddenly travel companions and driving is impaired, as is life. A walk in the woods suffers the same shame.
Humans have adapted, successfully until now, spending huge amounts of time hiding, hunting, or working silently with time to think. To solve, absolve, resolve, and improve, one requires time uninterrupted, alone with one's thoughts, thinking things through thoughtfully.
Cavemen undoubtedly would have eventually killed a blabbermouth, focus-deficient, chronically-texting idiot to save the tribe.
Gadgets easily, dangerously, take us from the moment, where life is lived and learned. I know a father who spends most of his time with his children reading or texting from a Blackberry. He thinks it's productive. However, a chance to appreciate, sooth, or bond to his children is squandered on a gizmo.
Dad makes a lot of money, so ostensibly he's successful, but the poor fool doesn't know the price of distraction. He will.
Islands though we may be, there's a human craving - a need - to communicate, but it has to be meaningful. Don't kid yourself or your kids: texting isn't talking; an email is not an embrace; Facebook isn't face to face; and families don't bond on phones.
Ironically, the demise of genuine connection has been aided and abetted by the explosion of "communication devices." It's also been astonishing how quickly the communication gadgets have morphed into vanity vehicles. Everyone suddenly considers everything they do, say, or think worth sharing with everybody.
Along with smaller families and more indulged children, constant blogging, posting, texting, and twittering has resulted in a society of self-obsessed narcissists. "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement" is a recently released book designed to explain and help non-narcissists cope with the disaster.
It's true that one learns best when one learns to shut up, listen, and think, but sadly, that's no longer fashionable. Deference for experience and knowledge isn't chic, anymore, either. The growing trend is to forgo learning and express at will.
As with fast food and McMansions, quality of communication has been forsaken for convenience and gluttony. The Information Age is something to celebrate, certainly, but be mindful of hangovers and after affects. Faith in false profits, like Bernie Madoff's, and false prophets, like Apples and Blackberries, has discernible drawbacks.
We worship technology and self-expression at our own peril. Rome is burning while Nero Twitters. rm brnz nro twtrs. ttfn.
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