I think I’ve been saying things along this line for a while, but I am increasingly more convinced that technology is harming my generation. Even moreso those younger than me, I must say. Technology has brought to young minds a few very important, very new things: virtually unlimited beauty, intrigue, and other such things; impersonalization of communication; and the plague of instant gratification.
I honestly cannot decide which one is the biggest problem, or if they are all so important that it is not really worth weighing them against each other. Either way, I will begin in chronological order. With the internet and social media has brought a virtually unlimited store of photos, videos, and other forms of media through which we, I believe, overload our brains with extremes of beauty and other things we tend to seek in our lives. Because at any given moment we can simply look up whatever extreme we want and experience it, the small things in our lives are dwarfed even more. Sitting back with a cup of coffee and enjoying the birds chirping in the morning or watching the a sunset becomes so much less meaningful when one can experience that much more beautifully online. The actuality of life becomes servant to our subjective experiences.
I think the impersonalization of communication is probably the one most easily recognized. It should be common knowledge at this point that through the advent of text communication that many of us have completely lost the will or ability to communicate with one another face-to-face, perhaps even just over the phone. It’s so much easier for most of us to type a quick text message than it is to actually take the effort to speak. However, that easier communication is even enticing to us should worry us. We should desire to communicate with those we care about. We shouldn’t try to make those communications more efficient, but to enjoy those things. Communication with people we care about should not be a means to an end. It is the end goal. Moreover, I think that we lose a lot of the concept of manners and respect for one another when we can simply ignore text messages or claim that “I never got your message” or whatnot. We’ve all used the excuse before, and it’s quite frankly shameful. I personally have tried to be more vigilant with my dealings and not allow myself to fall in the trap, but it’s a difficult habit to break. Anyhow, my main point is that through technology, we have morphed communication with one another even further towards a cold, unemotional, unthoughtful game we play in order to entertain ourselves.
Instant gratification is also a term that many of us are being familiarized by pop psychologists and others. Of course we would rather have things we want sooner than later. I personally think that in terms of gaining things, it is better to have an element of work, because it keeps our minds and bodies sharp. However, I think we’ve applied the concept of instant gratification to people. We now expect certain results from people. We want communication with someone at all times. If we have a thought to communicate, or if we’re simply bored, we channel it through chatrooms, forums, and the like. We are more interested in strangers, it seems, than we are in our own friends and families. I’m a little alarmed by the idea that many of us are willing to share things through the internet with people we don’t even know that we wouldn’t dare say to people we do know. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that such a thing is unhealthy.
I don’t know how these problems can be solved, but they are absolutely problems. Problems that should be dealt with, because I think the societal paradigms that could result from ge