Friday, January 23, 2015
TGIF! Happy Friday everyone!
Despite the chilly temps, its actually been beautiful and sunny here all week. Its amazing what a positive impact the sunshine can have on your mood.
Nonetheless, even when the sun is out, I've noticed that for the past few years, I have had a cloudy feeling. I've been very introspective and tried hard to determine the source of my angst. I've explored every aspect of my life: health, relationships, parenting, career, spirituality, and while my life is not perfect, its pretty awesome...so what's going on? I kept wondering and not finding the answer. Until recently.
It suddenly dawned on me where this existential angst and sense of foreboding is coming from...not from anything in my life, specifically, but more to do with how our society is evolving. I feel sad, frustrated, and concerned about where our world is going...and I am referring to the usage of technology and portable devices.
I know I now probably sound like an old crank...and perhaps I am. After all, if you were born later than the 90s, you probably don't even remember a time when everyone didn't carry around tiny devices that function as phones, computers and cameras. Well I certainly do! In fact, it wasn't until my last year as a university undergrad that I even started using email. Adam and I got our first cell phone, which we shared, as a wedding gift in 2002, and it wasn't until a few years ago I ever got a smart phone.
Don't get me wrong, I know all this new technology has its benefits...its just that I think it is being overused and I don't like what it is doing to human interaction.
Too many people are too dependant on their phones. This incessant need to be 'connected' is making us disconnected. I have no patience for people who text and check their phones when I am having a conversation with them. Its rude and obnoxious, and frankly, to me speaks to a certain growing narcissism people seem to have. Are you really anticipating something truly important? Unless you are a doctor on-call or the President of the United States, then my guess is, you can wait a bit to return that text or email. Seeing couples and friends ignoring each other completely in favour of their devices depresses me. In my work as a counsellor I hear how gaming addictions destroy relationships and couples resort to texting one another while in the same home! Come on folks, this is absurd! Even riding public transport gets me in a lather. My favorite thing to do is people watch, but apparently I am the only one because everyone else is glued to their device. Even on the subway, where there is no Internet service, people are listening to music, watching TV or playing Candy Crush. Nobody looks up, nobody notices anyone else.
I am the first to admit that social media can have a positive effect. For example, I have made incredible relationships with women across North America through the infertility channels. These women are people I have never met and many I never will meet, however, they mean the world to me. Things like Facebook are also a great way to keep up-to-date with friends and family who are far away. But the online world also creates a forum for people to spew hatred, to bully and to intimidate. So many of the things people say to others online they would never say in person. Its cowardly. It concerns me. This is the reality we have created for future generations. I worry for my girls.
All this online 'socializing' is not an adequate replacement for face-to-face interactions. We are social animals, we need true, intimate, physical connections with one another. Sometimes I want to go back in time, I really hate the current state of the world with all this shit. I think what makes me feel so frustrated and frightened is that this is completely beyond my control, and there does not seem to be an end to it. Adam thinks there may eventually be a backlash against all of this, but I do not feel so optimistic.
So while the rest of the world gets consumed by all this technology, I'll continue to stay behind and watch.