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14 May 2011

The Modern Age

An excerpt from an article in Spanish newspaper El Pais (12/05/2011):

"Cada vez pasamos más tiempo en este mundo de los unos y ceros y menos en el de la carne y los huesos: Las horas dedicadas diariamente al uso de aparatos electrónicos prácticamente se ha duplicado desde 1987, mientras que la interacción cara a cara caía desde unas seis horas a poco más de dos"

Translation: "We are constantly spending more time in the world of ones and zeros and less in the world of flesh and blood.  The hours dedicated to the daily use of electronic devices has practically duplicated since 1987 while face to face interaction has fallen on average from six hours to little more than two.

This article, called "Attentive to Everything...and to Nothing" discusses the effects of "connectedness" and the overdose of information that is afflicting our society.  In analyzing these effects, the author, Sergio Fanjul, weighs the advantages and disadvantages of infinite accessibility and constant electronic stimulation, and concludes that many of us are subject to an overdose of information that is negatively affecting our analytical capacities, increasing our anxiety, and often leading us to make wrongful decisions.

This article aptly characterizes, what, for me, is wrong with our culture-a pressure to always be connected and in the know at the expense of face to face interaction.  The consequences of an eternally-connected and technologically over-reliant society have yet to be fully discovered, but my sense is that humans are generally becoming more physically isolated from each other.  I will not speculate as to what path this may ultimately lead to, but will readily admit that this is what I absolutely abhor.   At the same time, I am in many ways helpless to resist certain connection facilitators (my computer and e-mail, cellular phone, text messages, etc).  Am I a hypocrite for discussing this on my blog?  In some ways yes, but there seem to be no other ways of reaching you readers (wherever you may be)...

What I value most in my social life is distraction-less face-to-face interaction.  It is the most meaningful way to find out about a person-who they are, what they value, what they look like, how they compose themselves, etc.  I will not single out particular modes of electronic distraction for exegesis, but many devices and social networking inventions, in my estimation, have chipped away at who humans really are-social animals (and primates) who must touch each other.

It seems as though I cannot expect face to face interaction to exist on the level that I desire anymore, and so, am taking a vow of vocal and text message disconnect for the time being.  If you happen to run into me on the street, or receive a letter or email from me, please think about how you interact with people, what effects constant connectivity has on your life, and what you truly value in other people.  I invite everyone to take part in this discussion.  I will continue to post to this blog for the time being, but for now, will be out of phone contact.  I leave you now, with a song to digest while you surf the web and invest more time into the cyber world...

The Modern Age

p.s. for those of you who read Spanish, here is the link to the article quoted above-

p.p.s The photo in the background of my blog is graffiti in the Spanish city of Granada that says: "One thousand machines will never be able to make a flower" 

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