“We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible. Over the past three decades, technology has delivered to us a world in which we need not be out of contact for a fraction of a moment… Yet within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society.
We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.”
Yesterday’s post was about introverts, and the advantages and disadvantages of being an introvert in a society that favours extroverts. Susan Cain sang the praises of solitude, of being able to appreciate the quiet opportunities for creativity and deep thinking that come to us when we are alone. This is not the same as being lonely… a state I believe can affect both extroverts and introverts.
We recently invited a foreign exchange student to our home for a holiday dinner. I know that he is not yet comfortable with English, but I was certainly not comfortable when he whipped out his blackberry and spent his time tweeting and playing games at the dinner table. Although he is a very nice young man, very clever, and eager to learn about Canada, he has not been invited to another family celebration! Do I blame him, or the ubiquitous and addicting technology?
Here is a very interesting article from The Atlantic Monthly that asserts that electronic connectedness and communication are corroding real life friendships without in any way improving them… an issue of quantity over quality, I suppose.
Do you agree with the headline for the article? Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.
That is an enormous generalization! Let us know what YOU think about it!