The wonders of modern day life, and all the technology that goes with it, provide a level of connection unparalleled in times past (at least those for which we have a record of). Farmers in Africa have smart phones, we have wifi in the jungles and approximately half of the world’s population (that being half of 7.2 billion as it stands at the time of me writing this) are connected to each other through devices that sit in our palms. Through our fingertips we touch and connect with the world. There is no doubt this has revolutionised how we think and act through the seemingly infinite supply of information – want to know the answer to an obscure question? No worries, just ask Google and the knowledge is yours for the taking. Hence, in this day and age, ignorance is a choice. This connectivity has had a hugely positive impact on how we live our lives today, with more people on this planet being informed of world events in real time than ever before. That said, this technological paradigm we find ourselves in comes with it’s disadvantages…
We have just had our internet repaired after being without it for just over a week – turns out the incoming cable had corroded and thus the line was compromised causing our connection to fail. We found this to be a huge inconvenience as we rely on it for our steady flow of information in the form of documentaries on YouTube, world news and events through our various Facebook subscriptions, and for our daily morning workout routines. Through processes out of our control, all this was taken away from us and the void they left was a gaping wound in our daily routines. However, there were several positive and unexpected effects which helped to re-connect us to one another in a way that we had let deteriorate as a result of our rampant connectivity with the rest of the world. We found that instead of surfing the web and checking notifications on Facebook, we were picking up books that had been gathering dust on our bookshelves for years, talking to each other more and generally existing more in the ‘real’ world. This was so positive because we realised them to be important areas of our life that we had neglected and were withering as a result. Books are so powerful… they started out as living things and are now ambassadors of knowledge that are unwavering. The smell, the texture of the pages physically engaging the brain and all the senses… a complete experience not offered by the on-line mediums through most of today’s information is channeled. Talking to each other; why is this art a dying one? There is no practice of this anymore.. or at least very little. Everyone is typing on their phones or laptops to their friends with no one actually speaking to each other! Typing a message to someone is so far removed from an actually conversation but don’t think people appreciate this – after all, this modern age of connectivity and digitalisation is very new and we’re still figuring out the rules of the game, how to get the best out of these new ways of communicating and how to strike a healthy balance. When you type a message, you have the opportunity to really consider what you are about to send to some one (although I have encountered people on-line who blatantly haven’t taken any time whatsoever to consider the content of their postings) – you can go back and delete words and sentences you don’t like or feel that, after re-reading them, they don’t really get the point you want to make across in the most effective way. With real life conversation, you have no such option – it’s dynamic by it’s very nature and you have to make a point to consider your message before it leaves your head; a real struggle for a lot of people these days. A dying art. It’s so saddening to meet the younger generations who’ve grown up with this technology and to see that they are so socially awkward as a result of most of their interactions taking place through a keyboard, and sometimes completely anonymously; and this is another big issue. Just go on YouTube and look at the comments section; it’s filled with ignorant and hateful comments from people who are completely anonymous – the only way they’re connected to their words (which for the most part are mean, demoralising and emotionally destructive to the person at which they are directed) is through an avatar that bears no relation to the writer in reality and a screen name. People don’t own their words anymore, and this leads to them feeling they have cart blanche to say whatever they like with no consideration of the the very real effect it has on their ‘victim’. A very sad state of affairs. These people are nothing short of cowards, who wouldn’t so much as cough at you should they meet you in real life. Keyboard warriors with nothing better to do than spread hate wherever they roam. These people should be ignored.
The lesson we learned? Re-connect with each other physically. By all means use the on-line platforms and maintain your on-line presence but not to the point that you neglect the physical; physical interactions have so much more to offer than the digital.. or rather just different qualities that cannot be obtained through the other, which are equally – if not more – important.
Talk to each other, laugh with each other and be there for each other – both online and offline.
Thank you for reading