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Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Isolation Society by Victor Thorn

From http://www.wingtv.net/thorn2006/isolation.html


The Isolation Society by Victor Thorn


I see the college kids walking along our streets every day, their ears covered by headphones while looking down as they scroll through messages on their cell-phones. Consumed by music playing through their i-pods while simultaneously clicking, dialing, texting and talking, they’re oblivious to the noise, traffic, and sights surrounding them – completely absorbed in a world of isolation.Regrettably, this trend is the direction most of society is heading toward. How so? Well, for example:• Personal computers have replaced the need for research at local libraries (where other human beings are).

• Chat rooms and message boards are where people talk nowadays – not town squares or neighborhood diners.

• We download music instead of spending an afternoon at the local record shops.• Likewise, direct pay-per-view movies are taking the place of video stores, or actually going to the theater.

• Online dating services are where singles (and others) go to “hook up” (not bars, coffee shops, or dances).

• Computer video games keep kids (and adults) in a state of suspended animation rather than going to the arcade; or, God forbid, actually going outside and playing baseball, basketball, etc.

• There are even advancements in the field of sexuality that will – depending on your software quality – replicate the actual experience of intimacy, thus eliminating the need for a partner.

• Elaborate My Space pages further insulate individuals in their own personal cyberworld.

• Instant messaging has created a fractured sub-language of abbreviations, acronyms, and techno-slang that is rapidly eroding our traditional forms of communication.I’m sure others more in-tune with computers could add even more examples to this list, but the point is: by increasingly becoming more wired to modern technology, instances of direct, face-to-face interaction become less frequent.

Someday soon everyone will even have their own radio show (via podcasts) which further consumes them. [Of course nobody will listen to the majority of these broadcasts, but that won’t matter because by that time solipsism and complete self-absorption will be so pronounced that isolation will be all that remains.So, this weekend, peel yourself away from the PC, toss your cell-phone down the garbage disposal, and instead take a walk downtown – stop into a local used bookstore and have a cup of coffee, or listen to cars beeping their horns. Yes, actual sounds still do exist in our world! Or else wander through the woods, traipse down the railroad tracks, wash your car, mow the grass, or wander through the playground and listen to kids squealing with joy (before they get sucked into their home computers).

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