Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the hollowing out of society

The other day I came across another one of those alarmist posts where someone was claiming the sky was falling because OMGZ WE HAVE TEH INTERNETS AND PHONES and we don't connect in deep ways anymore and we have lost the art of conversation and at the DMV everyone just stares at their phones instead of sitting there waiting bored out of their mind talking to strangers and wishing to die.

Whenever I read or watch these posts I feel like the speaker is yearning for some non-existant past when people used to stand around in line at the grocery store and have meaningful discussions about life, liberty, and happiness instead of having the old people in front of you verbally judge you for the large quantities of Cap'n Crunch you were buying.

Do you know what people used to talk about before we had phones to avoid each other? The weather. Yeah. That's right. The weather. 0.1% of our national GDP was frittered away by people talking about how hot it was outside, because there's basically nothing else you want to talk to pure strangers about unless you are a crazy person. Back in those days, people would write articles about how you were wasting your life with lost moments during the day, and how you should carry a book to read.

Now that we carry books/blogs/podcasts/the sum total of human knowledge everywhere, people are freaking out that we're wasting our life not connecting with people around us. Well, which is it? Should we spend our time learning, or chatting about the weather? There's a grown man standing behind me in socks staring over my shoulder on the train right this very moment, and let me assure you I have no desire to connect with him, nor anybody else currently around me.

I love technology. Back in the olden days men would accost you during your day demanding money. Now you can have some modicum of peace with your headphones and a nice four hour podcast about the end of the Roman empire. Back then, you'd bump into your friend, and they'd tell you about how they just got back from France, and you'd sit there wondering what France is like, or hoping they would invite you over for an interminably long slide show and food poisoning. Now you follow them on Instagram and when you bump into them you can have a meaningful discussion about their trip because they shared a part of it with you in a way that was not previously possible.

Our world is amazing! We live amazing lives! My great grand-aunt refused to get on a boat in Copenhagen to emigrate to the states, and she never saw her family again! I'm going to Copenhagen next week, and I'm going to take a nice little picture of my wife and me in freaking Nyhavn, and everyone who remotely cares about me will see it in hours and save me the trouble of going around to all of my friends one by one, telling them how cool I am because I take trips to countries with pastries named after them, all while they're stuck at work being productive members of society delaying our national downfall like suckers.

STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT THE HOLLOWING OUT OF SOCIETY. Our lives are fuller and richer because of technologies that tie us together, and if you hate it so much, go on one of those internet fasts that people who want attention like to go on.


jamwt said...

Wow, you are on form in this one.

brittney perry said...

lol - Cap'n Crunch haters.

Unknown said...

Last week I bought three family-sized boxes of children's cereal and the older lady in line in front of me said, "...you sure don't look like the way you eat..." What is it with these sugary cereal haters??

drfindley said...

This post makes me feel lonely, like I should be doing more to connect to my phone and the internets.

Layne said...

I like that technology provides me a greater ability to distance myself from the right people.

Also, I am able to figure out which are the right people to distance myself from by studying their unguarded/concentrated online persona. Goodbye, racist cousin. Goodbye, neighbor who supports use of vinyl inspirational sayings in home decor. Goodbye, ward member who posts graphic nude pictures of your home birth. Goodbye, person who types in all caps.

chris said...

These are some of the best comments I've ever had. Layne, you are a genius. Adam, try cuddling with your phone more often. Adeline, I know! How dare they. And thanks jamwt and britt.