Last week I was making the point that social media and technology is not only making us fat, rude and inconsiderate it is also making us stupid and lazy as well. The point I am making is that it has its place but shouldn’t be relied upon. The convenience of technology is not just weakening our bodies physically but also the development of our mental abilities.
Kids should climb trees, it develops their muscular growth. Kids need to write by hand, it develops their motor skills, sensory skills and memory. Last week I made my point by providing scientific evidence. This week I am going to give you an example of why I don’t believe technology should be relied upon from my own personal experience. We develop our beliefs and opinions based on our own personal experiences.
I don’t want to become reliant on technology because one day we might not have it anymore. This may seem inconceivable, but I was in New York in 2003 and experienced the blackout. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 (Sorry i don’t usually rely on Wikipedia but it had a greater overview of info) was the second most widespread power outage in history. It affected Ontario and 8 U.S states, a total of about 55 million people. According to reports, 508 generating units at 265 power plants shut down during the outage.
I was working at a summer camp in upstate New York. I watched as the Americans, that had been directly affected by the 9/11 attacks, panic and hide in the bunk houses. We Australians had a different way of thinking. We banded together, had a chat and found out whose parents would be awake at 6am Aus time and would be watching the news. That person was then nominated to call home. “Hi mum. I’m ok. I don’t want to worry you but could you turn on the news and let me know what’s going on?”
That year everyone was talking about their experience. I later went to live with two older ladies in Toronto. They told me about a street party they had, that they hadn’t seen for a while. They met neighbours for the first time in 20 years. People were in their front yards barbequing. Kids played soccer or hockey in the street. There was music as people had gone to their basements or attics and fished out portable record players. The ladies told me it was like an average weekend 30 years ago.
There were people in NYC who saw the stars for the first time in their lives. There were roof parties and the parks were packed. There was a sense of community, and a ‘help thy neighbour’ attitude. And that is what I think technology and social media is taking away from us. I am resisting the change in attitude not change in general. I am resisting the reliance on technology. I am personally trying to preserve my basic communication skills, handwriting, and the art of face to face conversation, manners and etiquette.
I’m not saying I think the world will end and we won’t know what to do. I’m not saying I believe the Hollywood hype and the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fictional worlds that have been created for our entertainment in mediums of not only film and television but novels and computer games. But fiction is based on some elements of fact, and I don’t want to rule out the possibilities. I’m not saying it will happen I’m saying it can. Our reliance on technology and fossil fuels will be our undoing.
And if it does happen, we will need to rely more on each other, and our local communities, as I’m sure the ‘global community’ won’t be much help. It is not only for this reason I think it is unacceptable to be indifferent to your fellow man, but it is generally unacceptable. I admire the Amish and Communism. I admire their preserved sense of community, and the importance of family, the idea of common ownership and the collective. I am not that idealistic that I don’t realise that humans are generally selfish, but I still think it’s a nice idea in theory. I am also not saying I admire the human right abuses or the religious aspects of either.
I don’t expect you to agree with me, that is not my point. I just ask that you consider the affect social media and technology is having on yourself, your lifestyle and your ideals. If you strongly disagree with any of what I have written I would be interested in your experiences and your reasons why. Please leave a comment below.