February 27, 2012

An Over-communicated Society

Everyone has a cell phone. Wireless internet is ubiquitous. Society is increasingly becoming over-communicated;  Much more even than what the experts who wrote about such things in the early nineties could have imagined. The world is changing - has changed, really. I wonder to myself what the consequences of such a change will be and find myself thinking about life in the seventies and eighties; Or at least how life was portrayed in those times.

The world was seemingly a simpler place. If you wanted to get in touch with someone you had to call them. There was no email and snail mail took a long time (although it was effective for written missives and the like). If you didn't know someone's phone number you had to look it up in the phone book, get it from someone else, or ask the operator. Nowadays, if you don't know the phone number you Google it. If the phone is too "traditional" you email them. If it's someone in a closer relationship you text. Hell, you can even send messages on social networking websites. Even the very blog I'm writing in, as a tool of communication, is becoming dated.

The world was simple but still over-communicated - even at that time. There was a slow transition taking root in society. One in which we would move from life being centered around the people you physically know, blooming into life in which we can have full-grown relationships with people we've never "met." In many ways, I find this a bit scary. In many ways, I long for the simple and rustic approach of the past.

The world is changing, the world has changed. Is it for the better or is it for the worse? I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone can. It's not so much that the change is bad per say, as much as it's simply different. I think it depends on what kind of person you are. The thought of people in a large city like New York or something mostly staying around their own area, going about their lives and knowing who they know and no one more does make me smile a bit, much in the same way that the thought of someone living simply in a wooden hut in the wilderness does. The fact that my mind even draws that comparison is evidence enough of how much times have changed.

For me, the main issues at hand when thinking about the over-communicated society of the past and that of the present are the pace of lifestyle and quality of relationships. I feel that most of our lives are running on a pace that will later prove tantamount to burnout. Everyone is so busy and I'm no exception. But are we busy with the things that matter the most? Everyone has a lot of work to do and it's important to make money in a society that runs on currency, but aren't we forgetting that the most important things in your life are family and friends? That very point brings the quality of relationships to the forefront of the argument. I feel that has communication gets less and less personal, the quality of the relationships that we have with those whom we communicate with is getting worse. My blogging to convey this opinion serves to strengthen my point. I would love to sit with someone and have an intelligent conversation about all of this but we're all so busy I doubt that will happen. Instead, I'll post it on a blog, post the link to Facebook, and see if whoever is interested will have some type of commentary when they feel they have both the time and the interest to read it.

It's not all negative either. In many ways, the over-communication that inherently comes with the advent of new technologies is a necessary evil, if it can indeed be called an "evil." Bear in mind, these are some of the same technological principles that are making medical care more intelligent and effective and the economy on which we run more efficient (at least in principle). What I'm wondering is whether the negatives outweigh the positives.

In the end it all comes down to opinion because the issue deals with how we feel about the current situation. I feel that all of these new gadgets and technologies are absolutely awesome and should be explored to further the potential of humanity. I think it's also important to remember who we are and how we got here and to make sure that we don't advance at the expense of ourselves. I love being better but I love being human even more.


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