Hell in a Handbasket

August 28, 2011

Right now you are staring at a screen of some kind. Maybe it’s your trusty laptop, a tablet or a smartphone . Or are they called handsets now? Who the heck knows anymore, the point is you are reading this on a screen.
So much of our life happens on a screen, sometimes it even feels like my eyes are taking on a rectangular shape. We work, shop, bank, socialize all on a collection of screens.
Books are next on the chopping block. I wonder if an individual who read a book on a digital reader and another who read a paper copy of the same book would come away with the same ideas. Would the digital copy encourage the reader to scan over bits of sentences and paragraphs like you are doing right now?
The screens in our life serve as a kind of buffer that can serve as a substitution for real world life experiences. Instead of teenagers going out and throwing a roll of toilet paper over a tree, or staying out past curfew, they post a controversial status update and watch the comments roll in. Ooh, how exciting!
At the dawn of the digital age some imagined a world where technology enhanced the learning process and encouraged a modern renaissance. The amount of information at the touch of a fingertip boggled the mind. Instead of a renaissance, the digital age seems to have turned us into a nation of apathetic, socially isolated obsessive compulsives.
Without damming entire generations, I have to say that some of the young tech junkies I have had the displeasure of working with are the most socially obtuse and self-absorbed people I have ever encountered. It’s like the day you’re supposed to learn how to play nice with others was axed due to budget cuts. That along with the day you learn how to carry on a conversation that doesn’t demonstrate how cool/creative/exciting/crazy/nerdy/hip you are or what brands/corporations/websites you identify yourself with.
I fear for the future, but what previous generations haven’t? Just as long as we can hold off on the Idiocracyfor a while longer, I have a life to finish living.

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