As technologies and media continue their infiltration into work places, into individual and family life, into classrooms, into bathrooms, into eyewear, into sweaty bedsheets, into almost anywhere human fingers and eyes appear, we will see increases in isolation, weakened social relations perceived as intimacy, anxiety, personality disorders, suicides, addictive behaviors, and a much longer list of brain-health pathologies.
I’m not saying that technology and media necessarily cause this. But the current state of hardware and software have not at all taken into account the way our brains and bodies work. These technologies have had very specific histories behind them – they did not just arise out of nothing.
The designers, the programmers, the sellers…none have invested the time, effort, and knowledge into how these tools can work *with* us. Instead we are supposed to adapt to them. Not only that, but the ideology of Silicon Valley implies that you are a ‘luddite’ or ‘lagger’ for not heading the command to adapt – as if we’re the idiots for not conforming to their autistic-like view of the world (I use ‘autistic’ in its general, not clinical sense here – this isn’t a reference to autism).
Why should that be? Why must we have to adapt to an electronic Paper Clip? Why must we have to adapt to 140 characters? Why must we Like when we actually Hate?
We have reached a time, however, when we are being left with little choice: soon everywhere you look (if not already), people will be either staring at screens or *through* them. Reality will be augmented, while connection with reality will be reduced. (Reduced connection to reality is a simple description of clinical psychosis.)
I am not be alarmist here. I am telling you that this will be the case.
You can ignore me.
Or you can think about it, look around, and decide to be passive…or ask “What is to be done?”
You will see more isolation. Unless you are one of the isolated. You simply will not see it – much as you can’t see the back of your own head.
And that’s the problem – this worsening of mental illness will worsen even more because it will be left untreated.
Up until now, our struggles have been against tyrants of old, or in more recent times, the Communists or Fascists.
But what do you do in a world where your fellow human beings are tethered to electrons, glass, and flickering lights?
I’m not a life coach or guru, so I can’t tell you what to do.
All I can say is: mental illness in our world will worsen, social media will continue to play a contributory role, and you may be victim if you aren’t already.
Whatever your center is – whatever that thing is that makes you *you* – know where it is.
And when you walk among other human beings who know their center, you’ll recognize each other.
And you will remember what true friendship was supposed to be all about.
It wasn’t about technology. And Technology wasn’t supposed to be about friendship.
How did this perversion of the two happen? How have we let it happen? How?
I enjoy writing and using this tech stuff to communicate . But I’m very concerned about where things are headed.
I wish you well if you find yourself in the world I see arriving. I really do.
As for me, meditation seems reasonable.
Try sitting with yourself for 5 – 15 minutes. See how long it takes for you to get uncomfortable doing that – just sitting doing nothing.
Think about why that is.
It’s a fascinating question: Just why does it get so uncomfortable to sit with yourself doing nothing?
Social Media won’t help you with that. Only silence and discipline and a desire to find out.
(Comments can be emailed – it’s more social that way.)