World Access in Isolation

World Access in Isolation


I should start by saying this is not a complaint. Merely an observation.

It seems almost paradoxical. The way of things today I mean. Everywhere you look people are focused only on the device in their hands. Out on the streets heads are bent as fingers fly across small keyboards. Are they even called keyboards anymore? No one makes eye contact anymore. Okay there are some.

I used to comment it was only the young people ( meaning anyone younger than I), but I notice on the streets, in stores, in cars (a no no) eyes are cast down and some of them belong to pretty old people. If you speak or otherwise engage and the head comes up, the eyes seem out of focus if they meet yours at all.

What I find strange is that at the very same time we have personal access to people across the world. Which in my mind makes this little planet that much smaller. Each week I come face to face in real time with my cousin in Scotland, my BFF in Winnipeg or Mexico or the west coast or the east coast or points between, wherever this Gypsy Road Warrior chooses to be, and then halfway around the world to my friend freshly recovered from an accident and still brave and back as good as new Judith Baxter whom you know as who lives in New Zealand.

I am pretty sure the outcome of this will be a world of folk unable to engage in proximal reality, physically close together. Even with skyping or messaging our reality becomes that face on the screen. Social skills lost.

How will next generations be able to interact? Will they be able to tolerate another human in close proximity? Will they be aware of trees, skies, breezes, natural beauty at all?

Will they lose their humanness? I read a prediction from a very science type on Quora that ultimately that is exactly what will happen. I am also sure that if someone from the nineteenth century were to glimpse our world as it has become they might also deduce we had lost our humanness already.

Times they are changing, as the saying goes.

Having said all that, I am most grateful that those I love around the world are as close as ‘this’ and we can look in each other’s eyes and raise a glass of red wine as we chat about any old mundane thing that crosses our minds.

14 thoughts on “World Access in Isolation”

  1. J & D > We find that these devices have helped us rediscover conversation: we each explore, sometimes in parallel, sometimes our own paths, but what we come across is continuously prompting conversation, discussion. That’s how it can be with books, why not also with the content on ‘devices’. We think that the problem is not specific to those little slabs of electronics, but is occuring in every mode of discourse: people are withdrawing from immediate personal face-to-face contact with people and organisations they don’t know already, and that’s because they are afraid: they see danger and risk everywhere, even in the most harmless things, so they blank out the real world, with it’s immediate demands. Why talk, when you can message? Why phone up to check availability, when you can book online? We’re all too risk-averse.

    1. I must admit I love our technology. Several times a week I Skype with Edinburgh and Wellington New Zealand and Ecuador and it is such a personal way to visit. Like being in someone’s sitting room with no mess to clean up after!

  2. It’s definitely a double-edged sword, Chris. It’s great to communicate with loved ones around the globe without taking out a loan to pay for the calls. Yet so many seem to be replacing social interaction with a keyboard. I guess we can only hope that, like with any new technology, we’ve yet to find the proper balance. If people walking into poles, traffic, and fountains while using hand-held devices isn’t symptomatic of a problem, well, then what is?

  3. It’s easier for me – I’m older than the technology, so I take it in from all sides like a pigeon after a morsel and then fumble when I try to use it. My kids, though, I think their thumbs will need surgery when they’re my age 🙂 Blessing and curse all at once. thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Chris. While I love the fact that I can talk to and see friends and family around the world via Skype I too worry about where it will end. But I am pleased to see my grandsons interacting with groups of friends in the house. The iPhone’s used to set up time and then discarded. So there’s still hope

  5. I think we are gradually getting tired of the lack of contact. I see people putting down the devices and interacting. And I rejoice. I’m as guilty as the next person. And as tired as the next, of it all. I look forward to real time with people. 🙂 But it is a blessing as well. Such paradoxes!

  6. Chris..have you read EMForsters. The Machine Stops. I have mentioned this book many times. It is a warning to us all but nobody is listening.???i sit here in Bulgaraia reading what you have written on one of those devices you talk of. My husband sits near to me ..head bent over his tablet and never a word spoken..this is modern life..for good or for bad is what it is…

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