The human race’s cultures, religions, crafts, music and technology are ever-evolving. From chariots and open-roof carriages to Humvees and air-conditioned Hummer SUVs, we have transformed communication and commutation, which was once arduous, to a child’s play—one can move from one continent to another in a matter of minutes and talk real-time with the entire human population. All thanks to telecommunication satellites, bullet trains, communication installations, airplanes and the almighty Internet. We have advanced so much that we may ask if we can progress any further. Some even fear that we have developed and almost perfected all conceivable and imaginable gadgets and contraptions, and could only return to the bow-and-arrow era from here.
The whole human population is a close-knit community exactly like the villages our forefathers lived in, so aptly described it as a global village. And global village it is indeed; we can commune with China and Brazil instantaneously and simultaneously from Nigeria. So obsessed are we with our ability to ‘travel’ the world through technology that we easily ignore the concrete humans beside us. Whether or not we leave our neighbours and friends in need of our company to die of loneliness and aloneness does not mean much, inasmuch as we keep up with our favourite reality TV shows, update social media status, wait for comments and shrink ourselves into the depth of various virtual dwelling place of choice.
We have given birth to a new form of addiction—the gloomy over attachment to BlackBerrys, iPhones, Android devices and all sorts. The irony of withdrawing into our hand-held devices at social gatherings like parties, eateries and bars strikes me, not only as odd but insane. We no longer as much as look up to say “hi” anymore, everyone is glued to the screens of their devices chatting, pinging, twitting, facebooking, listening to music or even watching movies. Many of us have lost the reality of our immediate environment!
Our generation has ceased to value collectivity, neither do we talk about hobbies/interests. All we do is discuss Facebook and Twitter updates to an embarrassing extent that when we meet real people we only need their Facebook link or Twitter handle, and once that is achieved, they inevitably become one in the seas of the many avatars on the internet. I have even read CVs wherein their authors’ interests were twitting, pinging, etc.
I wonder if people meet at bus-stops and eateries anymore; you must be in attendance online to meet another human. In reality, we no longer need pick up lines. All that is necessary is a social site account and you are a go. We have so perfected it that we even have phone sex. I was wondering if we would have online weddings in the future and was stunned when I learnt from Google that the days of online weddings were already here! Proxy marriage online is legal in some states in the US and Mexico, and it is also popular in Role Playing Games (RPGs), where you can marry fellow players (although not legally binding) and you may also have a virtual online wedding with a friend, fiancé/fiancée, a pet or an item. While this possibility may greatly enhance connections and the ‘villageness’ of the global village, they also come with their downsides. For one, the human tendency to live the online dream and get so attached to it that the reality of living becomes a dream.
We have lost and continued to lose a little bit of our humanness to technological advancement. As we continue to search for virtual love, attention and friendship, we turn out to be more and more withdrawn from those around us who also need love. While we cannot gainsay the importance and utilitarian functionality of these devices, we can say without hesitation that we have also misappropriated their usefulness to a crucial extent. Note that having an active online life is not wrong on its own; it is forgetting to have a real life that is the problem.
Next time you find yourself at a social gathering, please try to socialize. Greet and get to know someone, don’t wait till you meet them online. Visit friends and family, engage in outdoor activities and get your real life back!
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