A new way of life, a New Year…REALLY???

contemplative thoughts

~ 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

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18 replies

  1. “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.”

    Okay, here is one thing I can help you to clarify. I really am Alice trapped in Wonderland. You are actually Culture Monk. See, I am the girl in the blue dress called insanitybytes and you, you are clearly not the girl in the blue dress. 😉

    The changes going on within humans under technology is really fascinating and has some interesting implications, not all bad I hope. There is some value to be had in hiding behind your keyboard and chatting with virtual strangers. For one, there is a certain kind of safety and honesty that can exist within that relationship that you wouldn’t have IRL. So while there are some changes I do not like, there are some benefits, too. I sometimes like to say the virtual world is like a peek into the human psyche and once seen, it can never be unseen. That is both the good news and the bad news. Our humanity is both beautiful and horrifying.

  2. This post is amazing. I mean really, really amazing. I applaud you. I have pulled back a lot from Facebook and rarely do Twitter. I do like IG though because of the pics and positive messages I find on there. We as people have gone backwards in a way. I feel that there are so many brilliant minds that won’t meet their potentially due to technology dependence. It may sound crazy, but imagination and ingenuity do not run rampant when devices do all of the thinking and communication for us. Great post!

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. The Alice in Wonderland image really strikes me and that’s exactly the sentiments I share. Did you find it difficult to hit the delete button? I want to give up social media, yet I still buy into this false concept of not being connected. Advice?

  4. I may still own a phone but it has been on 3 times last 6 months.
    It is so much more peaceful And you be surprised in the things that you start noticing.

    This is something I have written about before.
    Last week thoughts among others, I have been questioning progress and our way of ‘Evolving’

    As we evolve around materials we create instead of evolve on our own strength.

    Great read.

  5. Funny. After reading your posts I find myself wanting to actually have a conversation with you. I will settle for inspirational words, however 🙂 Unplug from the media monster. Don’t watch TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Everything new that changes a culture is always criticized and bad until it isn’t. I’m sure you can think of a few. Perhaps there are downsides to new technology but it could be just the beginning to something greater and refined that we can’t even imagine. No one saw the smartphone coming even when we had cell phones in the early 2000’s.

    I don’t see what’s so absurd about having online friends even ones that you care about. You’ve probably made connections through WordPress that you quite possibly cherish.

    Before the internet there were probably millions of lonely people sitting at home reading any shitty book they could find and talking to themselves. Without the internet I’d might still be hanging out with assholes..lol

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. Much of what you wrote really resonated with me. I have really struggled with balancing healthy use of technology and social media with unhealthy use of it. And I very much agree with you about how the internet has warped our definitions of social terms like friends and dating.

  8. Facebook frustrates me a lot, I’ve stopped reading the “trending” articles…People are just so angry these days! Not only are they angry but they think their right in their “angriness” as well. I can’t even remember the last time I read an actual discussion with people actually listening to the other person.

    I love that the Internet keeps me in contact with friends and families over seas, that’s pretty much it and advertising a business, especially for small business. Even with that though, I had a friend that took over from a small business where it was all vegan food. Of course they wanted to sell different foods, they are an entirely different business. For some reason though people were completely outraged that the new business owners were not doing just vegan food. It’s kind of like having Target take over Angus and Robertson and people expecting the exact same range?

  9. Great post. I am 48 years old, remember rotary phones and when you had to memorize phone numbers; when the microwave first came out, when cell phones first came out and were the size of a game system now-a-days…I also remember when you had a sit down meal and everyone either ate quietly or ate and conversed with each other via their mouths not text messages 0r–for goodness-sakes weren’t sitting at the table and everyone is on their own cell phone either texting, FB’ing, Tweeting, etc… I went out to eat with my husband the other night (date night) and I glanced over at several tables and saw two out of the five tables were busy on their phones. One of the two was a family and each member had their phone out and no one was talking to the other.
    Children have nicer cell phones than I do, know more about technology than I do, yet I am not envious–I can still remember how to do things without technology.
    I often wonder what would happen to people if suddenly we lost the use of all technology…

  10. The internet is really whatever you make it out to be. It can be and is a wonderful tool for gathering information and learning, for connecting to people. But, just as in “real” life, there are some assholes that are just going to try to smother you in their negativity and hurt you.

    I actually have several friends that I’ve met online that I’ve never met in person. Some of these connections have been going for over 10 years across multiple platforms. So I won’t use quotation marks. We talk, we share our feelings and lives, seek each other’s advice and counsel, share interests and hobbies, etc. The only thing that could be added by their physical proximity would be the benefit of hugs. In that, I will admit it’d be nice to have them nearby. But their friendship is not lessened because of the internet.

  11. the internet is good for two things only: research (any and everything) and advancing a persons skill for bullshitting. Anything else (save Netflix) is a waste of time

  12. I really like this post. I can’t say my smart phone is my enemy but for sure add stress to my life. Made me think of the old say: “The rich spends most of his night awake worrying, while the poor sleeps peacefully” 😆

  13. You really think not much has changed over the last few years? That surprises me.
    I think a LOT has changed and not just with things like the internet and technology.

    I can tell you why I’m angry. It mostly has to do with how much of my freedom and liberty has been stolen away from me just in my short lifetime. It infuriates me that so many people think they somehow have the right to run MY life FOR me! They insist on inventing ridiculous rules and regulations for every tiny little detail of life, they think they can make everything safe and secure and perfect, if they can only make enough laws. They hide behind the government to FORCE me into doing things their way. They STEAL about half (more, really) of my hard earned money. They promise me things like social security and take 30% of my income over 40-50 years to pay for it, yet when I get old enough to start caring about it, they break those promises and then STEAL even more money to prop up their scams.

    Because people increasingly depend on the government to do all the things they SHOULD be doing themselves, within their community, with their friends, families, neighbors, the government needs to keep stealing even MORE of our hard earned resources. So, people need to keep working harder, for longer at jobs where the work keeps increasing and you’re expected to do more, with less every time you turn around! The money is being inflated constantly, so it buys less and less, so you have to earn even more, so you TRY to work more. Except that the jobs are being destroyed by even more rules and regulations and we have nothing left now but low paid service jobs. I’ve been looking for work lately and see thousands of applicants for each job! Without meaningful, productive work I get discouraged and depressed. I’m sure others are the same. There is not enough of that kind of work out there anymore! Plenty of people have just given up already after years of trying.The ones who are still lucky enough to have a job have no time anymore to spend with their friends and family, they have to work all the time, or travel to/from work, or train for work, etc. And if you do find the time to go out, just to get out, it’s dangerous as hell to try!

    The corner bars have disappeared. Those USED to be the community centers, where people could get together, relax and have a good time. NO MORE. The MADD have destroyed that! Now, you are taking your life in your hands if you go out for a beer after work! I will lose my ability to WORK, FOREVER, if I get a DWI! So, I choose to stay home and play on my computer instead. SAD, and yes, it pisses me off! So, we get even MORE isolated. I know you enjoy your coffee shops, but they are NOT the same atmosphere as a beer joint and they don’t serve the same purpose. And I, for 1, don’t choose to waste my time in any church. So where does that leave us for a place to find ANY community?

    HERE! On the internet.

  14. we all need an exit from this shit ….

  15. I have been missing your words, Kenneth! I am trying to stay away as far as I can from virtual world, it eats me alive… and now, even my cheap internet doesn’t let me to give you “like”, I don’t really care and it gives me the opportunity to leave you a comment.

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