~ I was sitting at coffee recently and an acquaintance sitting at my table lamented to me that their friend had been ignoring him recently,
“What do you mean?” I asked
“Well, I texted my friend last week and she still hasn’t responded” he said
“Is this unusual?” I asked
“Kinda, she always texts back right away” he said
“Do you think something could be wrong? Should you stop by her house and make sure she is okay?” I asked
My friend looked puzzled, “Stop by her house? I don’t even know where she lives!” he said
At this point in the conversation, I was the one who was confused, and after a few questions for clarifications I soon learned that my coffee acquaintance has never met this particular woman in real life! He has only ever talked with her via the Internet!
Call me old fashioned, call me a troglodyte, call me whatever you want, but this brave new world we have created appears to be simply absurd to me.
People throw the terms “friend”, “community”, and “dating” around but they no longer mean what they meant when I was younger, after all, if someone told me they were “dating” someone back in the 90’s, I would have rightly assumed they had actually MET in REAL LIFE!!!!
Is it just me or has everything been turned upside down? I feel like I am Alice, wandering around Wonderland where up is down, down is up, and left is right. Nothing is as it seems anymore.
In the USA, Greece, Great Britain, Canada and a few other countries, major political upheaval has been apart of our culture on an everyday basis. The news media tells us that “people are angry”.
But what are people really angry about? After all, when it comes to every day life, not much has actually changed when it comes to jobs and housing over the past twenty years. However, when I consider what the Internet has done to the world; how it has changed the very way we think, and it has changed the meanings of words (“friend” no longer means what it did twenty years ago) I start to think that the reason people are so angry, has everything to do with the way the Internet has fractured our lives.
The sociologist Neil Postman often said, “Scientists never ask “should we do this” they only ask, “Can we do this”, and it seems that expression works really well when I consider the way people use the Internet. The Internet is not in and of itself evil, but the way people use the Internet tends to have dire consequences in their lives.
I do not have a Twitter account or Facebook account. I used to, in fact, a few years ago it was through social networks that I was able to grow my blog into one of the most read blogs in the Midwest. But then I started seeing the negativity that was associated with social networks. I started seeing the way they are changing the way people think…for the worse. And so in one fell swoop I clicked <delete>.
This last year I began questioning the cell phone. When I was younger the cell phone wasn’t such a major element of people’s lives. But now it seems as though the smart phone is an extension of each person; it as though the smart phone is an appendage.
In a few years my goal is to ditch my smart phone altogether. The only way people will be able to contact me will be via email, which I find to be a much less threatening and intrusive form of communication. For now, I turn my smart phone off for long periods of time. I rarely respond to text messages, and I rarely read text messages when they are sent to me. I’m tired of being a slave to technology, as the old saying goes, “The more possessions you own, the more your possessions own you”.
I don’t want to be owned by materialism. I want to be free to be at peace where I am, and to hear the still small voice of God….I’m tired of it being drown out by the craziness of the Western World.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee
Categories: Culture & Society