We as a youth culture are addicted to everything technology can offer us — addicted to anything but love.
Society friendship and love Divinely bestow’d upon man, O, had I the wings of a dove How soon would I taste you again!
These words from William Cowper imagine the feelings of Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk when he was marooned on a deserted island off the coast of Chile for five years. It must have been a miserable feeling for there was no technical intervention in human lives then and with no social networking — OMG! What a disadvantage! Is that why poor Selkirk was missing society? Tsk tsk, I’d rather be left alone.
We live in the Communication Age, yet don’t communicate in the real sense of the word. You will ‘instantly’ realise this when you use public transport or even walk on a road and notice a bunch of people busy with their mobile phones. The phone users will either be playing some game, chatting online or laughing at some jokes, completely ignorant of their present surroundings and people.
The paradox of the Communication Age is the lack of communication on a personal level — interaction of one human with another. We are deprived of human touch (of course I can achieve a big ‘O’ on my own), human emotions, feelings and interaction.
We are going through a major crisis in this generation of ours. The crisis of self-esteem (I need so many likes on my pictures to feel likeable), self-worth, self-identity (I gotta do this mama. This is the ‘it’ thing or else how would I feel cool? My whole gang does it), self-recognition, and self-exploration (Oh boy, now who has time for it? Let me click a pic of myself instead! I love mah selfie!!!)
We would rather prefer using Google Maps than asking a passer-by for directions. This way which we have adopted only leads us to a confused, intolerant, diffident (yes I don’t have the courage to come out of my virtual world and interact with real people in flesh and blood), anxious, delirious, unhealthy, uncomfortable with their own selves and yet self-ie obsessed, socially unfit (funnily with a very big network of ‘friends’) generation.
This is the sad destiny of our society which is almost committing a suicide. We are an addicted generation. Addicted to everything technology can provide us, addicted to ‘selfies’ (yes it’s been rated one of the most used e-word), addicted to everything but love.
Social networking is the opiate of people. Technology has alienated human beings from each other. We all are in our own islands, but unlike Selkirk we have no craving to get back to the real world. Even five-year-olds would rather play a virtual game or paint virtually, (nah mamma you need no brush and palette, I am ‘technically creative’, also rated in top whatever percentile you see). This is alarming! Karl Marx said that an alienated individual is a “plaything of alien forces”, albeit alien forces which on their own are by-products of human action. The minimal human interaction is giving way to an abnormal, self-obsessed society where nobody cares for the other and ‘self-help’ is the key word. Yes this is the Self-Help Age where you cannot help anyone, but yourself. We read self-help books (sorry eBooks). But in this process of self-help we forget that while trying to help somebody somewhere, we are probably helping ourselves too.
Love thy neighbour? Who the hell knows who my neighbour is? I know only my clan, which of course I’ve created myself in my virtual game. Yeah I am the creator. I am going on creating a world which I choose to perceive and people ‘like’ it. “I am the monarch of all I survey”.
Our situation is similar to Selkirk and the castaways from the society for their wrongdoings as their punishment. As W S Gilbert says in The Bab Ballads:
These passengers, by reason of their clinging to a mast, Upon a desert island were eventually cast.
They hunted for their meals, as Alexander Selkirk used, But they couldn’t chat together — they had not been introduced.
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