You are known by the company that you keep.
Let’s refine that, you are known by your tribe.
That doesn’t work either…
You are known by the clothes that you wear and the people that are around you at all times.
That seems a bit over descriptive.
You’re known by your partner, your family, and your job.
How about you are known by the things that other people can easily identify so that they can exert less mental energy throughout the day.
Backup a bit. This is getting complicated.
Well what do you expect? Relationships are complicated.
I set out to write an article about how we relate to our gadgets. How our phones are extensions of ourselves and carry the same emotional attachments as pets. (I personally cried when I dropped my iPhone 3G into the toilet a month after I got it.) Oddly though, we are quick to disconnect our feelings for the device as soon as we find a replacement.
Then I got to thinking that Gilda Evans would rather I speak on interpersonal relationships, like partnerships or friendships, and I wondered if I had anything meaningful to say on the matter. I mean it’s not like we replace friends or lovers like we do when we get a new phone, right? Right?
Actually I believe that we do and it is a core problem with today’s society.
We no longer have loyalty to one another.
We’re in the age of machine assisted human interaction. Little of what we do on a day-to-day basis leaves a machine out of the equation. We text our friends and family. We call into a tech support center. We like or hide posts from friends on Facebook and catch up with the latest trends on Twitter. Tinder, or a similar site, decides what sort of sexual encounters we should have and Amazon offers the perfect gift for the person that we love.
In all of this lies the option to hide, delete, or otherwise dismiss another human being as easily as we close a window in the operating system. There is no penalty for not liking a friend’s post. There is no letter that goes out when we ignore an email or unfriend an acquaintance. We have the option to date completely out of sight of our friends and family, thus there is little penalty to sacrificing a relationship. In short, people have become as disposable as every other commodity in our modern society.
As we have splintered away from tribes, our social morals have dissolved, obscured, or changed entirely. I pity the religious extremist, as they hold on to ideals that modern man can no longer possibly abide by. However, in their misguided efforts they sing a requiem for a system that sustained humanity for ten thousand years and herald an age of social experimentation.
Forgive my diction in that last paragraph, I do enjoy a good soapbox.
These devices, these new ways of interacting with other people, are completely untested. We have no idea what long-term effects can be caused by our machine-assisted interactions. We do know that attention spans have vastly shrunk. Relationships are getting shorter. Feeling alone is so common that it has become a Meme.
I don’t think that technology is evil. In fact, I’m a huge supporter of it (being primarily an eBook author). Yet, in all the advancement, I’ve sensed a supreme lack of consideration for the human.
There is hope though.
As our relationships get shorter, and our attention spans dim, there will come a time when we all realize that something is missing. Maybe not everyone will be able to put a finger on it; yet when a handful of people do, they will offer the world what it has been missing, and everyone will rediscover the value of human relationships.
A. J. Cosmo is a children’s book author and illustrator living in Los Angeles, California.
His books are available on the Amazon Kindle.
A. J. would love to hear from you! Your comments are also welcome on Gilda’s Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/girltalkwithgilda or send them to her on twitter at https://twitter.com/gildaevans, @gildaevans.
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Guest posts are the opinion of that author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Gilda Evans or others posted here.