I’m convinced that about 5,000 years down the road, after countless generations of Blackberry-centered spawn have passed, mankind will reach the physical stage in which his wrists have become permanently contoured into a semi-bent backwards angle and his fingers gnarled in a permanent keypad-friendly curved embrace, in the evolutionary interest of accommodating smart phone keypads for maximum speed and efficiency.
I glimpse the initial stages of this evolutionary leap brewing everywhere. People shuffle around the city, unaware of their surroundings and which direction they are headed because their attention is so focussed on the small screen clenched in their palms as they punch out a text, a precious stream of haphazard thoughts we can all disinterestedly read on the latest social networking fad. Or you can spy such behavior in the corporate hallways or the bathroom where people tirelessly and devotedly examine company emails any time they have a free moment which essentially infers any time they are dropping tablets in the crapper.
People so deeply immersed in their social world.
A world of human interaction so dearly treasured that no one can bear to leave it behind, even for the shortest of moments. Some of my most breathtaking days are those I forget my cellphone at home. I am the last hold-out. I don’t own a smart phone and I don’t have a texting plan. I have absolutely no urge to keep in touch with people, nor for them to keep in touch with me. I have no urge to know what they are up to. I have no urge to tell anyone every insignificant triviality which befalls my humdrum existence. One person wallows in ennui; why subject the rest of the world? I have no need to hoist the burden of my social life uipon the shoulders of every reader to every place I have the displeasure of visiting throughout the day. Give it some rest, people. Is it really necessary to announce where you’re eating lunch or where you are enjoying your day off or with who? I can’t understand this pathological involvement, this hungry grasp people have to wrap their reality around.
I don’t comprehend nor understand the seeming human instinctive drive to strengthen and multiply the tethers which bind them to others in all manner of existence. I’m not a Luddite. I’m fully capable of enjoying and understanding most modern technologies. My distaste of social technology and textual vainglories is based in a deep-seated aversion to the practice of centering my precious life and its even more precious sense of self around the acknowledgement and presence of others. Am I the only person who feels this way? I don’t care to hear from others or to know what the hell they are doing. I want to be left alone. The other day I was joking with someone that I would like to theoretically get rid of all phones in my life! She pointed out, correctly, that due to certain factors present in my life, this was not presently advisable. I concurred sadly. But, this is not to say that I will not one day eschew phones of all types in clear absence of conscience.
These are curious words issuing from someone who is apparently quite as involved in the cyberworld as myself. I’ll admit this. My explanation is that cyberlife appeals to me as a strange voyeuristic fashion. I have serious distaste for much of the external social world’s oppressive demands, but still…I am oddly attracted to its ostentatious displays of self-involvement. I cannot resist, but I cannot embrace. My cyber existence allows me to half-heartedly dabble in this atrocity that is Society and the bleak landscape that is my own mind. I both enjoy the privilege of living in this ridiculous netherworld of semi-existence, partaking in nothing, but still fulfilling the egotistical vanities of both . From a distance. Lack of involvement is my game. My involvement in society is only as pertinent as my direct obligations. As my obligations age and grow independent, my involvement fades.
As Sergeant John cooper of TNT’s Southland said of his partner’s annoying phone texting distraction while they patrol the streets, “You like that thing? Text all your little buddies? I don’t get it… I want less ways for people to reach me, not more. ” John Coooper gets it and I’m sure he expresses what many of us feel. Who needs to be followed around like a dog panting to break free of the leash? That is exactly what social technology has become. A noose! We are captured by the noose of communication technology, a noose which slowly tightens, strangles and suffocates our freedom and individuality.
This technology which brings people “closer” ultimately separates them from life.
From reality, from their surroundings.
Women avoid acknowledging scary strangers by burying their nose in their phone’s silicon anonymity. They walk around without a clue as to where they are headed or to the wonderful vivid world which stages their existence. Their existence is meaningless now becasue their existence is reduced to a few slivers of digital self-involvement. And men…well, they use it to cement business deals and dates. Equally pointless facades.
What have we become?
Losing the ability to engage a world directly while glossing over its foggy representation beaming at us from a small screen spewing brightness which feigns life.