Crowded places make us uncomfortable, so does conflict, dealing with annoying friends and lying. Is it any wonder than that in an age that hails comfort as the Holy Grail technology strives to eliminate all those uncomfortable situations for us?
These days you do not have to humour boring friends by nodding along to their dribble you simply go into invisibility mode in your instant messenger or block them on facebook.
Is it not easier to lie, avoid someone or to be harsh when you do not have to look your victim in the eyes?
You even hear of people breaking up with their partner through a text message and then announcing it to their friends by changing their relationship status on facebook.
Children watch too much TV, Teenagers spend too much time playing violent PC games and even grownups seem to be sucked into the void of virtual reality, creating second lives, alter egos and accumulating hundreds of “friends” they never even met.
This is generally understood to be bad for us and for society. Excessive use of mobile phones, computers and social networking sites are accepted as being very unhealthy and a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to figure out why that is and who to blame.
Amidst all the finger pointing at TV-producers, video-games, politicians and even technology itself we forget that the consumer gets what the consumer wants. No one forced us to use iPhone’s or iPods or Facebook, there is no law against not tweeting your every move and yet we feel compelled to do so.
Everyday we make the choice to fill our lives with technology that creates a distance between us and those closest to us, co-workers, family and friends.
The consequences of these actions are clear, messaging your bestie through facebook instead of coming over or calling up will in time turn your relationship into a shallow shadow of its former self. Giving directions to your employee’s through blackberry e-mails, sending an e-greeting card for mother’s day, tweeting that you broke up with your partner, every single time we choose to interact virtually rather than personally we flatten a relationship, cut ourselves off from those we depend on.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
The payoffs are in every ad in flashy colours they are fast and easy communication and never missing another deadline, birthday or a new bit of gossip because you are always connected albeit only through a screen.
This constant connection to all those in our inner and our circle keeps us always open for demands, it is no longer acceptable to switch off your phone or not check your e-mails regularly. What once was an instinctive right to protect our privacy is now considered bad etiquette and even a sack able offence.
Since we have the technology to be always within reach of those who need us we have the duty to be on eternal standby.
To say this is draining would be an understatement, so in order to deal with the multitude of demands we are forced to reduce the quality of our response.
Once you have 500 friends on your list no one expects you to get a present for every single birthday, a blinking light in the facebook page will remind you to send a generic e-greeting card, that is all you can do and who could expect more?
Our heads are so full, we are so stressed out by this constant online chatter dribbling into our inboxes we cannot free our heads to have a yarn about the weather with the man behind us in the coffee queue. We are under an electric current, always live, always dangerous ready lash out in frustration at anyone demanding more than we can give, ready for that corn of rice that overflows the bowl.
We need to distance us for safety reasons in order to not explode at our dearest and lose them we keep them at a safe distance. We have learned to ration our limited resources of patience and concentration wisely.
But what about all that time wasting “I just made a sandwich” posting and gibbering away in…