Adulthood no longer exists….

simply disconnected

by Kenneth Justice

~ I stopped by a cafe over the weekend and couldn’t help but notice a table of three men (they were in their early 30’s) sitting there in silence, all of them staring at their smart phones. For the better part of an hour I never noticed any of them breach their silence even once; if Norman Rockwell was alive nowadays, instead of a painting of a family praying in public, I’m sure his emblems of Americana would focus less on communal connection and entirely on community disconnection.

I’ve written about the decline in Intellectualism throughout Western Culture extensively, yet that table of men I observed yesterday drove all my observations right back to the surface. Not only have we become a society lacking in intellect, we have become a culture of children.

Consider for a moment what long distinguished children from adults; children sit and play for hours, and their conversation tends to be of the more trivial and base level fare. However, as the young person graduates to adulthood, they enter into a fray of more serious discussions; more contemplative and philosophical fare all revolving around the things that matter most.

Yet, how many people are really graduating to adulthood anymore? YA (Young Adult) novels have become one of the best selling genre’s in books these days, and perhaps I’m wrong; but it sure seems like adults are reading YA novels at a greater pace than ever before. Could this be due to the fact that adults of our era no longer have the mental fortitude to work through the writings of Hemingway or Camus? Could it be that adults no longer aspire to increase their mental capacity? Could it be that adults nowadays are merely nothing more than big children?

(I’m not suggesting it is wrong that adults read YA novels, only that it is a change in culture if that is ALL they are reading)

A group of men in their thirties, sitting in silence at a public cafe, and playing video games on their phones sure seems more akin to a group of children then a cadre of adults. Have we bred a society of grown up children?

I was talking to a 40ish year old stranger yesterday for a few minutes that I met at coffee, and after I finding out what part of town I lived in, she asked why in the world I would want to live in the downtown area of the community. I explained to her that I love being able to walk to the grocer and be only a few minute walk from the library, coffee shops and other places I frequent. Her response alarmed me,

I’ve never really given much thought to where I live, I didn’t know people intentionally moved to downtowns so they don’t have to drive as much”

Really??? In all of her forty odd years of life she never gave much thought in choosing where she lived? I find that hard to imagine, surely she is mistaken, how could she have never given much thought to where she was living?. However, more to the point, her comments gave voice to what I see as such a predominate worldview throughout our culture; people who are so mentally disconnected from vibrant thinking and thoughts.

We are a warped and destitute culture of brain dead people (no offense to people who are actually brain dead). We are a culture of zombified adults who would rather blather endlessly about meaningless drivel, then engage with each other in more mentally satisfying and uplifting conversation.

Video games are perhaps one of the greatest clues that we’ve bred a generation of child adults. They wear the badge of “GAMER” as an emblem of honor. As though it is somehow beautiful that they are an adult who spends the majority of their evening hours playing games. As Neil Postman said, “We are amusing ourselves to death”.

If you think I am wrong, consider these statistics released by Nielsen which found that the average U.S. gamer over the age of 13 plays video games for 6 hours a week <article>, but that study is based on self-reporting; are Gamers really being honest and admitting to how much they play? After all, the Gamers I know, play anywhere from 3 – 5 hours per night, which is as much as 21 hours a week!

Even if we go with the 6 hours a week (which I believe is way less than the actual average), are we then supposed to believe that these same people spend 10 hours a week reading anything beyond the simpleton fare of Facebook updates or Instagram picture comments? I seriously doubt it; I seriously doubt that the same Gamers who zone out in front of video games night after night, have the mental fortitude to wake up and read and study at the crack of dawn before they head to work.

Will we one day wake up and find that adults no longer exist? That the line between children and adults has simply ceased to exist? It’s a frightening thought, and it is a world that Neil Postman predicted we were headed towards……

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

60 replies

  1. Kenneth, please be more precise. The title of this post should ened “…in the Western Culture”.

  2. This is truly frightening. There must be hope, somewhere, right? Please….

  3. “Amusing ourselves to death.” Articulate. Sad observation (truth).

  4. Kenneth, I like your writing. I don’t always agree, but you think, you look at the world around you. As you note, that is becoming more rare to the detriment of our culture. Thanks.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you don’t always agree, it gives me a sense of perspective to hear opposing ideas. I do try to exercise a measure of creative observation as well and I’m glad to have your interpretations as well

  5. Reading YA books isn’t actually a change in culture. There were no YA books like the kind we have today, not until recently. There were children’s books and adult books, now they have merged into YA. So it’s not a change, it’s just something new. If they had been available before, people may have read them. But I totally agree with you about everything else and it’s truly terrifying.

    • Fair point – not everything is as simple as it’s outrightly observed. I do think that the point remains, though, that overall we are a society that prefers light reading to the more challenging, deep, and philosophical content.

  6. I find it hard to believe that the Norman Rockwell life was all it’s cracked up to be. If it had been so wonderful, it would have stuck. It was a time of racism, sexism, hidden lives, quiet suffering, and shame. I’m not saying we’ve come a long way, but we have come far.

    People ‘play’ more now because they have more free time and no, I don’t think that it is a bad thing. People are more educated and have more access to knowledge than ever before. I’m trying to figure out what lens you’re looking through and I can’t. To me, the world is getting better on the whole, not worse.

    • Perhaps we have more free time because we have dismissed some of the activities that used to take priority in the lives of generations prior – organizational activities like the Lions Club and Kiwanas, etc., that used to be a source of congregation for community service and the sort have experienced steep declines in attendance for the last several decades. In fact, I don’t even object simply to the fact that we play more, since leisure time is an ideal that everyone seeks. Rather, it’s the fact that more and more people play alone, or that they play at things that have no constructive value for their lives, let alone the society and communities they live in.

    • I’m not prepared to allow that people are less engaged in their communities and lives because two volunteer organizations who have not evolved well with the world of digital media have had a drop off in membership. Just because people are playing or getting involved in different, sometimes more solitary ways does not mean that our society is going downhill.

      Every generation had decried the downfall of the newer generation and yet, by every standard, our world is a better place every time it’s measured. Give me proof and statistics that our society is headed to the toilet, not the same arguments that have been doled out since Aristotle.

    • Read Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam for statistics on the decline so community and social capital in the United States – it isn’t just those two organizations, but ALL organizations have experienced this decline. Civic activity is in decline. Church attendance is in decline. Family cohesion is in decline. I agree that everyone has always compared themselves to the golden past that has maybe been less gold than we’ve perceived, but there is a real, observable trend going on in the West in this generation.

    • I am not familiar with the book, so I looked it up. A quick search reveals that the author ignored studies that disagreed with his point, used old studies and applied their findings to new technology, and took no note of the social groupings that do not worry about memberships.

      Traditional values activities may be declining, but they are getting replaced. There are certainly observable trends, and not all of them are positive. But reading through your posts, you seem committed to seeing only the negative and bending the narrative toward pessimism.

    • Civic activity isn’t in decline necessarily: it has just changed form. Online activism and social media campaigns are very much part of what we call ‘civic activity’ and these numbers indicate a much higher involvement in civic affairs than ever before… even dwarfing rates of previous involvement. Again I caution people about appearances.

      Just this AM I was speaking with a teen organizing the gathering and touring of young social activists from different countries who share the same social concerns setting up media events and sharing effective strategies for positive change. But because so much of this activism and engagement occurs online, the appearance of young people tuned out is quite deceiving.

  7. I only have antidotal evidence but I have noticed that once a person is in a serious relationship, there is a decline (often, not always) in the playing of video games and the general childlike behavior and soon there after a similar decline when actual children are involved.

    I am reading a plethora of different books right now. A children’s book to my children, a YA book for fluff and a philosophy book to learn.

    I was walking in the hospital the other day and saw a friend of mine who is dealing with heavy things in his life. He was reading Werewolf Smackdown. I asked about it and he said, “It’s crap. Total crap.” I replied that we all need a little of that kind of mindless crap every now and then to help us escape from what weighs on us.

    • I think you’re right on the point of balance – and each person should seek the balance that suits their own philosophical demands. John Calvin refused to rest from his writing even on his deathbed, saying, “Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes?” and I tend to aspire to such ideals of productivity, but I’m not convinced that it’s the only, or even the best way. Everyone is entitled to rest and leisure, but my point is more that our society seems to err more on the side of entertainment than in labor, and I would only advocate for balance between the two.

    • Yes, I would agree that we need balance.

  8. While I agree that people waste valuable time… I have to ask… how do you know they were playing games? I use my electronic devices to read. Also, I have several language learning apps.

    You are probably right. But, I need to hope that people make better use of their time, talents, and intellect.

  9. “people who are so mentally disconnected from vibrant thinking and thoughts.”—
    You said it first.

  10. For once I’m not sure I agree with you. I have had many similar discussions with my husband recently because a) he and I would rather be gaming in the evening than reading (and I’m a writer of fiction, there’s nothing wrong with my intellect and I love to read, whether it’s YA or Hemingway) and b) our six year old daughter would rather play computer games and watch youtube videos than read. Again, she’s a very bright child and I don’t see the games as diminishing her intellect. If anything, they are stretching her far more than the drivel her school send her home to read. She is discussing strategy and learning about the world.

    Obviously I monitor closely the games she plays, and make sure they aren’t sapping the life out of her. But I despair of getting her to read through choice. I did nothing but read at her age and I explained that to her the other day (in a mother-guild panic because not reading is equated with going to hell in the middle-class world I live in), and she said, “but, Mummy, do I have to grow up to be like you?”

    Those were her exact words and they floored me. No, of course she doesn’t. I hope she doesn’t, because she lives in a completely different world to the one I grew up in. I read to escape at her age. Enid Blyton and Sweet Valley High books, even Lord of the Rings and other weightier tomes (for an eight year old) were my friends and family. But do I look back and think that was healthy? Not really. I was escaping life. My daughter doesn’t read I believe because she doesn’t need to escape life. She loves life. She doesn’t need to be entertained – she is entertained, by her drawing, her brother, her toys, and by the ipad.

    My children discuss their games together, they strategise and plan and compete and learn and help each other. Even on a ‘mindless’ game like Minion Rush I see them getting so much from it. And me, too. I’ve never felt so alive – since becoming a work from home mum – as when I started playing strategy games. I am using my brain like never before. I have something to discuss with my husband: we talk far more than we used to when I was buried in my books all the time. We have few points of contact in our choices of books and films but we found a common point in games.

    I don’t disagree that culture is becoming fragmented, that people are spending more time in their virtual worlds and less time making human contact. I worry that empathy is disappearing (and then I read some posts on Humans of New York and my faith is restored.) I quite often only speak to people at the school gate, and not even then if I’m tired.

    But I certainly wasn’t having deeply intellectual conversations before becoming a SAHM or before playing games on my ipad. My friends talked about clothes and handbags and restaurants and movies and a bunch of other things I couldn’t always relate to. Even my husband and I don’t talk politics because we don’t have the same beliefs. I’ve found my own tribe online. Facebook is my coffee shop where I hang out with friends and discuss the political views I subscribe to. My blog is where I chat and swap parenting stories and work things out.

    Maybe culture isn’t failing, maybe it’s just shifting. Maybe we’re no longer restricted by trying to find common ground with the people we happen to exist alongside geographically, maybe we can reach out to a whole world and find people who are like us, wherever they exist (or even whether they are real, I guess).

    Anyway, something for me to think on when I have my coffee! 🙂 Great and thought-provoking article.

    • There is something to be said for games in learning skills, perhaps, but I lament the loss of idea-exchange. Even the games of my generation, like Oregon Trail, taught us SOMETHING (the threat of pioneer life, for example, or strategy, like you said), but it didn’t give me any skills for making sense of life in the same way that a book does.

  11. This is fantastic, I have been saying this for a long time. I often tell my husband that I wish the Lord would move us into the country so we could really disconnect and spend more quality time together. Instead we have instituted rules in our house that cannot be broken. Limited tv time, limited time with video games, mandatory family dinners with no electronic devices and bible study. We try and spend as much time as possible outside and I have taken myself off all social media except this blog which the Lord gave me as my ministry.

  12. King Solomon said most people will spend the majority of their time in life chasing the wind doing meaningless things. Sad but true. However, he also said it is not wise to look into the past and instead look to the future. I commend you for at least trying to make people aware. It is a sad as I said though, most won’t realize it until their short time in life is past.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    • I like your reference 🙂 You’re right that most probably won’t realize, but maybe those who don’t won’t be plagued with regret either. Ignorance is bliss, afterall. For the rest of us, those who do realize the potential for allowing such things to deteriorate the joy that comes from more meaningful pastimes, we are those that stand to suffer the most.

  13. While I agree with you on many of your points, do keep in mind that Corporate America has many of us virtually chained to these %$# devices. Often, I would like to throw mine in the nearest dumpster. That said, “amusing ourselves to death” is so appropriate for today’s world. Sometimes I think nearly all of us are guilty of a bit of that.

    • We are very much a consumerist society and our habits are built around our products. I had a friend that gave up her cell phone for a land line for a year before she gave up and bought a new one because no one calls anymore, they just want to text. Same with social media – another friend keeps deactivating and reactivating her facebook account because everytime she thinks that she’ll just email people instead, she loses her active (if superficial) lines of communication with dozens of people. These habits have become so predominant in our society that if you choose not to settle for such summary interactions you might not get any interaction at all. It takes time to cultivate real substantive relationships and we’ve all begun to lose the patience for it.

    • “It takes time to cultivate real substantive relationships and we’ve all begun to lose the patience for it.”

      I think that is so true. I think that in general, we are losing patience with everything. We want things to happen immediately. I see a loss of patience in everyone (hey…me too).

      I trace this to the (ok laugh if you want ) to the television remote control. Those of us who remember life before the remote recall a different type of life. We watched tv and if it wasn’t exactly what we wanted to watch, we watched it anyway, because there weren’t that many stations on anyway.

      Post-remote, things changed. Don’t like what’s on ttv his very second…change it, and change it fast. Next channel…commercial…hit it…on to the next one…see what I mean.

      Just my 2 cents…on to the next one.

    • Yes! The remote control was created, not to save lives, not to make any necessary labor more efficient, but to make it more convenient to change the channel, and so convenient that we could change the channel on every commercial break. It isn’t an inherently evil device, but again, there are unforeseen consequences that are so much bigger than perhaps were ever anticipated in its development.

  14. well you can the YA books . . . and go to the adult book store what do you get?

  15. I agree with several commenters who point out that that it’s rather presumptuous to assume ‘only’ games are being played and that ‘games’ are somehow only entertaining rather than informative.

    Having lived through the birth of the internet while raising a child, I marvel at just how incredible has been this addition – all of the world’s knowledge and massive entertainment available at one’s fingertips – to his life. The online community he has developed dwarfs my own very social one and his ability to adapt and thrive in any ‘real world’ social setting continues to amaze me. His depth of knowledge about almost any topic allows him to balance people’s opinions and statements from authorities with his in-depth experience… much of it gained through the gaming world as access points to interests he might never otherwise have been exposed to. His knowledge about electronics and its capabilities as well as the ability to connect ideas to other ideas and then to real life has already produced a young person able to design and implement digital solutions (and policy procedures) from military training exercises to mapping mining exploration to aligning satellite payload costs to streamlining healthcare records between institutional organizations. He supports independent artists with purchases while advertising their products to a small but influential online community… often brought together through shared interests in games. He contacts people directly (particularly about the music used for end credits in movies) and brings composers to speak with his community music groups… again, gaining meaningful access to very talented and expert people not just for himself but for real world community of people he knows as well as his international ‘gaming’ friends. And the very long list of how his online activities translates into real world value for a fascinating and interesting life that may appear to the casual observer as simply a person staring at a screen.

    Just a quick story:

    Using his knowledge about ‘gaming’ friends, he – along with a person in Sweden, another in Britain, another in Zaire, another in Brazil, another three in the US – knew that one of their co-gamers sounded troubled and gave hints of being in the throes of a deepening depression. Because much private information is never exchanged, the concern they felt for this person was difficult to act on. But, working together, they translated their online concern into taking action when a gaming appointment was missed by this regular contributor. Using their knowledge of the internet, they worked together and tracked down who this person was, where they lived, and contacted the parent. Later, that parent contacted them and told them she had interrupted a suicide attempt of her son and got him the help he needed. Five years later, he’s doing great and the group continues to ‘play’… now with at least one parent’s approval and gratitude.

    Because the internet and all it offers is only now becoming mainstream, it is difficult to make judgements about its effects. But – like most tools – I think we only get out of it what we’re willing to put into it. And we shouldn’t deceive ourselves that appearances of people not interacting in real time tell the real story about what’s really going on. And to assign negative values because of these appearances I don’t think does justice to what’s true.

    • It sounds like your son had no loss of creativity as a result of his access to games and the internet – and that’s a good point, it isn’t going to be a unilaterally destructive force, neither does it have to be a predominately destructive force. The point of concern is where people lose interest in their community as a result of their absorption in the virtual world. The internet can absolutely be a benefit in facilitating positive and beneficial interactions, but again, everything with a sense of proportion. You don’t want to engage the virtual world at the loss of real relationships.

  16. I agree this is an important and relevant conversation, Kenneth. Although there is nothing terrible per se about reading YA books on occasion or losing a few minutes to a video game, routinely and exclusively spending your free time doing that is a problem personally and collectively.

    We are in serious danger of being primarily consumers and in creating nothing original. I am worried how uncreative so many young people are, having traded their own ideas for consuming the next shiny gadget or colorful screen, spending obscene amounts of their life engaging only virtually, literally ignoring the very real humans around them.

    I have set limits on my own son, by requiring part of his ‘screen time’ each week to be about creating only-not consuming the endless mediocrity and time wasters out there. He has since created blogs, videos, simple games, stories, and artwork. It’s a start.

    • You’re absolutely right – it’s a matter of proportion and where we prioritize our time. I like your philosophy of enforcing creative exercise. So many kids I know are at a loss for what to do with themselves when they can’t access their games, phone, or TV. When I was a kid I was sent outside to play til the streetlights came on and being “bored” was never a product of not having a device to play with.

    • Thanks Kenneth. I grew up the same way as you and rarely remember being bored ever. Despite all the gadgets and endless variety of opportunities for amusement, most young people use the “I am bored” mantra daily and sincerely. How do we fix this?

  17. As a waitress I see so many families sitting at the table all lost in their phones or games. Young parents with small children are ignoring their kids to text or read Facebook rather than enjoy or even control their children. It makes me sad.

    I know that I even struggle with this too. I try to make a point not to get the phone out when we are eating out but there are times when my husband and I are talking and a thought comes to me about a movie or a term I have forgotten the meaning of and out comes Google because it just can’t wait.

    My sister went on a blind date recently. (they met on the internet of course.) They didn’t talk for so long. He was actually on his phone while he was sitting across from her. So, to try to engage him in conversation, she sent him a text! Then, they had a short “conversation” through texts and then the date ended and she never heard from him again.

    What kind of world do we live in that we can’t even have face to face conversations with people?

  18. You and I completely agree for a change!!! As an educator I have seen the decline in mental ability over time. This is unfortunate for a lot of reasons especially since western civilization is being severely challenged right now on several fronts (the rise of socialism and the threat of extremists wanting to take over being the two big ones in my view) and we need to be sharp at all levels of society. The biggest daily consequence I notice, however, is how this constant pursuit of entertainment leads to a much higher degree of selfishness. Salespeople almost never have get-up-and-go. They work at a snail’s pace because there’s nothing imminently in it for them to serve you well. Appointments get canceled by not showing up and not contacting the other person (even though we are so well connected!) The excuse, if I ever get a response at all to a query of their health and wellbeing, is that they were sick or had car trouble. When was the last time you were so indisposed you could not make a phone call or send a quick text to cancel an appointment? Looking good has become the ideal at all levels, parents don’t worry as much about their kids’ mind development or that they are eating nutritionally. They spend more money to make everyone look good, but inside they are soft at every level. And the possibility of technology connections like facebook to foster deep conversation, discussion, and disagreement gets squashed regularly because you can unfriend a person who questions you and makes you think about your beliefs. Often, before being unfriended, if I ask someone to defend their beliefs it is often laughable by any thinking person, even those who agree with the person. It used to be that you could have a very challenging conversation with people, completely disagree with each other, and leave respecting each side’s well-thought-out positions. Now it’s uncomfortable to realize that you have just taken a position because it is popular with your friends and you cannot possibly defend it logically. The last time I had a good discussion where I was on a completely different side of an issue, opposed the others’ thinking entirely, and left with utter respect all around? At the top of a mountain in the Swiss alps with about 8 people of different countries. We are definitely in trouble.

    • Yes! “It used to be that you could have a very challenging conversation with people, completely disagree with each other, and leave respecting each side’s well-thought-out positions.” – I absolutely agree, virtual interaction has led to the dissolution of the real social skills that facilitate respectful and constructive disagreement because there is no accountability and no consequence. People say things under the cover of internet anonymity that they wouldn’t dream of saying in reality, but they exercise this form of communication more than any other.

  19. I am a gamer LOL Ooh hell yeah I need to blow of some steam somewhere. I would have to say a minimum of 12 hours a week but not so much I game every day. I do hope I still have enough braincells working to do some thinking.

    I do not think it is matter of a disappearing line maybe more like the upbringing. The more effort we put in to it the better our reward. And it is what games are. It is these days how adults live. It is a cultural change if you will where we treat everything as a game. Work hard and get rewarded. Work hard according the set rules whether a game or work.

    Little by little we seem to need less people who actually think as the the set path is thought up but one person and pretty much set in stone. We can also than argue we are not aloud to think to much any more. What if you turn out to be smarter than your own boss. They do not want you to take their spot. Competition has grown among adults to just as hen we were kids on who was the best in class.

    What direction we are going to might be wrong but someone obviously thought it up and made sure it seemed best for al f us.

    • I do think that this way of following a prescribed course of action throughout our lives – like a lifelong order of operations, leads to prolific dissatisfaction. What makes this phenomenon so interesting is that most of us live with the belief that we are choosing our own path, where many of us are actually letting someone choose our path for us instead. It isn’t a rewarding way to live. People need to be inspired and passionate, but instead they are devoted to the path of least resistance and end up in the occupations that present themselves rather than those that they come to through self-searching and proactivity.

  20. Kenneth – you’re just now realizing adults are really more like kids? You’re just not realizing that parents (or at least many) are overprotecting their kids to the point their kids can’t handle reality? This has been going on for quite a while it seems like. As far as gamers are concerned – we can’t all be readers; people are entitled to have their hobbies. Besides, isn’t reading a form of entertainment? Granted…reading worthwhile news articles, etc., is about keeping informed so it’s a bit different. As far as “intellectual” or stimulating conversation, I’ve encountered many who just don’t assume discuss any “hot” topics unless it’s with like-minded folks. Everyone is far too worried about getting into arguments or heated discussions. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that many dating advice folks discourage talking about such topics on dates 1, 2 or 3 – that advice seems to have been taken too far and beyond dating…it’s too bad. People seem to be getting so passionate about certain topics, they can’t seem to distance themselves enough to at least be willing to hear another side. It’s unfortunate. I’ve always found that talking about things with people who have a different perspective on things is good for me. It doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind but it gives me something to think about. I know I can get a bit passionate about my convictions and certain topics, but I work to realize when I see it happening and calm down lol. I am only human though and mistakes happen. 🙂 It is a bit sad to think that we’re more willing to “numb” ourselves from the brain down in order to avoid conflict. The problem there is that conflict will find it’s way eventually, so it’s better to discuss and find some common ground, be willing to compromise or on occasion be willing to agree to disagree. Some things are too important to ignore.

    • I do think that it is in part a result of changing philosophies in parenting. Childhood today is a completely different experience than it was for past generations and I think this is probably in response to all the new threats – parents control their childrens’ diets because of new, controversial chemicals (think of transfats, BPA, etc), children have to be supervised more because of increased crime rates, an so forth. Perhaps the evolution of parenting has been appropriately reactive to real world threats but have failed to preserve some of the less immediate and more abstract values of our culture.

      Also, “Everyone is far too worried about getting into arguments or heated discussions” – I keep saying this! We live in a society where the threat of personal attack in retaliation to THOUGHTS is a very real possibility. I think we’ve all learned to be wary of saying anything that could be deemed “politically incorrect” and offensive. Really though, is there anything substantive to talk about that cannot be construed as offensive to someone looking to take offense? I think not. We have to change our inclination to offense rather than our manner of communication. You’re spot on.

    • Well, things can be said in an offensive manner, but if we learned to have a lil’ more thick skin (myself included lol) it wouldn’t be so bad. Yes there are true threats parents need to adjust for but now there’s OVERcompensation and hence kids are babied – helicopter parents. The pendulum swung the other way; with any luck it will find some…duh duh duh…balance! lol 🙂 maybe one day

  21. True we live in a braindead culture, but not everything read on a device contributes to this…after all I read your post on my iphone 😄

    • That’s true! It isn’t the devices themselves that are indicative of decline, it’s more of a symptom of how we’re choosing to spend out time – so few people read at all these days even if you include ebooks. Devices make engagement and information consumption more convenient, but they also enable the escapism that’s become so common.

  22. Some thoughts:

    YA books do not have explicit sex scenes and many people are turned off by the raunch in many books today. In fact, we had plenty of raunch in books I read when I was younger like Glory and the Lightning by Taylor Caldwell and she was considered quite a good author in her day. I do read some YA, especially when my oldest granddaughter was reading the book and that way we’d have something to discuss – however I admit I could not force myself to complete the Twilight series as I wanted to strange the female protagonist.

    Frankly, although I loved Shakespeare despite the difficulty of learning the language patterns of the 16th Century, I hated books such as The Red Badge of Courage and I find many “literary” works tedious beyond belief. I don’t care for Hemingway, either with his choppy writing style. Partly this is because we no longer talk the same way. As a reader I don’t care to go through miles of allegory to get to one cogent fact nor do I. Wish. To. Read. Chopped sentences.

    Life and times are changing. We no long sit in a toxic, smoke-filled longhouses either. Nor do chop off heads and then play games with them. I was no good at chess, checkers bored me, and hunting and fishing seasons are neither continual nor accessible everywhere.

    Honestly, if I’m at a coffee shop I’m usually reading something on my Kindle because (1) I’m Hard of Hearing and (2) I don’t like being annoyed by people I often cannot understand any better than if they were speaking a blend of Swahili and Klingon because they mutter, mumble, eat and talk at the same time, and do other things that impair communication. I have to watch people like a hawk when we talk. I do the same thing on the plane or bus or whatever – my nose is is a virtual book. BTW, I have a Kindle, and Kindle apps on my computers, smart phone, and iPad so if you see me looking at something that’s probably it. Or I’m read the news.

    Me time: This coffee shop time may be the hour in the day that is not devoted to a spouse, screaming children, or work related activities. We are becoming busier and busier and sometimes that down time is very critical to not going off to home or work and tearing someone’s head off.

    All three of my grandkids had developmental delays of various kinds. One thing that helped all of them were games such as Jump Start Baby. Not all the grandkids are gamers. The oldest two are not. The youngest one is playing Minecraft with his father, step-father, and all is neighborhood and school friends (sometimes they go to each other’s homes to do this). Honestly, I could see this kid becoming an architect.

    OTOH, my son-in-law used to be addicted to candy crush. Which is better than heroin or crack or booze. Just saying.

  23. Thank you so much for giving a vocabulary to our modern day situation.

  24. I have the beginnings of a blog post talking about this very thing, how electronics are changing our culture to non-thinkers. Having been in west africa last few months, I see the huge differential between smart people with next to no resources & used-to-be smart people with too many resources. Pursuit after comfort, i guess they call that hedonism, doesn’t do much for our happiness, or our brains.

  25. I should add, though I read & write far more than most I know, Im writing this on an iPod, just finished a few potato chips with a gin & tonic and will go watch Netflix.

  26. I was reading Fahrenheit 451 for the umpteenth time and this post struck much the same chord. Society is becoming more child-like and brain dead. 5 minutes of daytime television and I switch it off. Can’t cope with the banality. It’s like feeding a baby bland foods so they can swallow it better. Your post is cynical, horrifying, and ultimately more honest than many I’ve read. Thank you for the privilege.

  27. Haven’t even generation has been blessed and blamed the technology?
    I feel that purpose of life is to rather stay childlike.

  28. The unfortunate outcome of USA/Western mental (and heartistic) decline, lack of awareness towards each other is that it is spreading all around the world, based on the fake and falsely advertised “bright and smile, ideal life” to the areas where even everyday living is a struggle.

  29. That line – we are so mentally disconnected from vibrant thinking and thoughts – loved the word vibrant.

  30. ‘We are a culture of zombified adults who would rather blather endlessly about meaningless drivel, then engage with each other in more mentally satisfying and uplifting conversation.’ he says as he sits quietly typing into his lap top…..


  1. In Response to Coffee and Conversation | writermummy
%d bloggers like this: