Monday, April 13, 2009

A World Tuned Out

"As I sit on a bus en route to my local university library, his words hit home. The few passengers on board are not participating in the here-and-now but are absorbed in a hypnotizing alternate universe of mutually exclusive cyber worlds.

Increasingly inundated by technology, a lack of human contact is leading to depression. One rider gazes idly into space as he rocks back and forth to the tunes spilling from his iPod. A woman busily pounds out text messages from her sleek clamshell Blackberry, her fingers flying frenetically. Yet another squints his eyes in concern as he surfs the corridors of the internet from his cell phone.

When I attempt to greet a fellow commuter opposite me, he returns my gaze without even a glimmer of shared humanity.

Uneasy and alienated, I turn on my own iPod and surf through the one-hundred plus digital music files, but none sustain my interest. I can’t help but feel that technological gadgets are keeping people apart and breaking down our society.

Malignant Self-Love author Dr. Sam Vaknin echoes my lament. 'Technology had and has a devastating effect on the survival and functioning of our core social units, [rendering it] atomized and anomic.'

he adds, 'Modern technology allows us to reach out, but rarely to truly touch. It substitutes kaleidoscopic, brief, and shallow interactions for long, meaningful and deep relationships.'"

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