George Orwell said it over 70 years ago, and I believe he said it best…
““The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening.”
There’s nothing like travelling through a big city, and people watching to make you realise just this. To see just how many of them are not watching you back, or even noticing you are there. On a crowded tram or train, on a lonely street, a hustling shopping mall…it makes no difference. ‘They’ don’t even look up…the masses, the zombies, the technologically focused…’they’.
Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant brains of the 20th century, is said to have predicted something almost identical: “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Well, maybe not all idiots, maybe well educated by google, but definitely suffering from an over social-media-ised anti-socialisation. Tragic.
I watched a couple sitting side by side. He casually flicked his arm around her, tried to talk, joked a little, and then gave up trying to win her attention. A second later they both were glued to their phones, and not a word more was spoken the entire trip.
I spoke to someone casually (because I have no filter) and they seemed shocked, surprised, hesitant to reply. When they did it was brief and disjointed.
I chatted with another guy for near 30 mins a few days last week, and on the third day, we realised that of the 20 travellers in our line of sight, we were the only ones not plugged into some type of socket. Actually talking. *GASP*.
This week alone, I have spoken to at least a dozen people I don’t even know (although now I chat frequently to one), made a baby giggle hysterically, patted a dog in a shopping cart, watched the same terrain affected and change in 3 different lights of day, listened to funny, stupid, dramatic, and joyful conversations. I have been aware of a very highly strung junkie, thanked 20 different drivers, helped 3 lil old ladies disembark, and given up my seat for numerous disabled or elderly passengers. I have given people directions, been surrounded by cute, hungry little sparrows, jumped off a stop early a time or two, and been unexpectedly complimented by a girl who felt the need to justify speaking to me, by explaining that she also had no filter. I told her no excuse was required.
We are in a world of people who are switching off more and more every day, just by switching on. iPhones, iPads, iPods, ithis, ithat, ieverything.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate social media. In fact, I think it’s fabulous. Some days, and in many ways…it’s the only way I can stay in touch with some of my nearest and dearest. But, everything in it’s place. Snapchatting, tweeting and face-timing, seems to be replacing good old fashioned talking, visiting, writing. People don’t send letters, they send ‘likes’ or ‘pokes’ or messages. People don’t visit, they email or post on your virtual wall.
We are all being desensitised methodically, and in the process, losing empathy, sympathy, respect, affection and love, yet hate still seems rife, and tempers shorter. People use the platforms to clearly express what they hate, are upset about, can’t stand or are even slightly disgruntled with. They argue politics and war, religion and sexuality. They complain about bad service, lack of service, no service and not being serviced. Perceived anonymity is making people bolder, and the boundaries of personal privacy are becoming slim to non-existent. Anything goes.
Maybe I’m just different, maybe old fashioned or being left behind, but I find it so…sad, to see all of this ending. I’m happy enough receiving messages, but call me and it puts a smile on my face. Video-chat and that expands exponentially, because then we are actually sharing our lives together. Send me a letter, and I’ll probably read it more than once on the spot and then again next week…just because you took the time to write it.
I don’t want to be part of the Umbrella Corporation’s infected masses. I don’t want to be the inanimate body that stares at a screen while the world passes by in the background. I want to be that kick-arse chick with the big gun, making the world a better place to live in. Feel free to press ‘end’ and join me.
Goodnight Kids, I’m off to read my book (you know-the kind with real pages)