Man or Machine

I was out at a bar the other night and was struck by the impersonal climate of our modern age. I noticed a fair share of the bar patrons were paying more attention to their phones than each other. Isn't that ironic - that all these people found themselves in the same room, yet they were searching on the Internet for someone or something else, rather than interacting with one another? I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be better if everyone just put their phones down and mingled in real time? I mean isn't it the ultimate rejection message to broadcast - "no one in this room is good enough for me so I'm going to search cyberspace for something better." Talk about a confidence killer. How could anyone approach you? Isn’t it weird that our desire for human connection has led us to interact with our machines more than with other humans, which only makes us more lonesome for authentic connection? It seems to me that technology has backfired. Actually meeting another human being has become harder, not easier with our machines. It seems we're actually going backwards, being more afraid to interact with one another. What’s reality - who's online or who's in the room? Has fake reality (online) become real and reality become fake?

It’s easy in big cities to say to yourself, "I think I’ll pass on that one and wait for a better one." Meeting has become like picking out a new tie - no, no, no, no, definitely not, no, no, no, hmmm...maybe some potential, no, no, this might work, etc. Maybe there’s just so many people in our large urban areas that people become like things. It’s opposite of what you’d think. You’d expect that if you live in a big city with more people that you’d meet many people and make many friends. But the fact is there’s so many people in our megacities that it’s overload. We wind up tuning one another out. People cease being people - they become mere objects or distractions that more often than not just get in the way of what we’re looking for.

Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a place for social media and networking software. But when people are more interested in interacting with who’s on screen than with who’s right in front of them - well, then I get concerned. I think our lives would be happier and more fulfiling if we put our phones down, smiled, walked over to that special someone, saying in essence, "Hi. My name is ________. Can I buy you a drink?" At least then you’d stand a chance. Perhaps I’m just getting old and outdated, but I think there’s great value in connecting the good old fashioned way.

All My Best, Angelo