There was this thing on television today about people whose lives are taken over by the digital aspects of their life, like facebook, cell phones, and the like. It disturbed me. Deeply. What it means to be human is certainly going to change or is in the process of changing with the development of these technologies. Society is no longer just the people you meet and interact with, but also the ones you can digitally interact with and never actually lay naked eyes upon. Whether that’s better or worse is not important to me, because that’s the wrong kind of question. It’s just a difference.
But i think about these things and it troubles me a bit. Like how my cousins are growing up with facebook and cell phones. They’ll never know what it’s like to go to someone’s house, ring their doorbell, and ask their parents if they’re home. Their identities are forming and now they’re forming under the public eye, all digitised. I guess it’ll allow for a more congruous digital identity and real life identity, but i’m glad i didn’t need to form my identity under the watchful eyes of the world, all happening online, viewable, savable, retrievable. Their identities are forming in the public sphere and will exist on their under cache forever. I don’t know, it’s weird.
But this show–there were two actually–the internet was ruining their lives. It’s frightening and it filled me with a deep sense of revulsion. I feel terrible for them, even. There’s some sense of agency lost, a depersonalisation, an alienation, even the loss of actualisation. I don’t feel like defining those words in the way i mean them, but maybe you know what i mean. I hope so. Whatever.
It reminded me of this documentary the BBC ran about chaps who buy and fall in love with their Real Girls, which are, apparently, realistic sex dolls. It was essentially Lars and the Real Girl without any catharsis or character arc, just sad men falling in love with inanimate objects. Deeply in love. I don’t know, the digital world is scary, and this alienation that Dostoevsky and then Camus talked about is getting worse and heavier. People are losing touch with the world they inhabit, with other people, and people aren’t meant to exist in isolation, as it makes them something else, something resembling human but distinctly not. An inability to relate, to sympathise, to empathise, to exist as an actualised person.
I use the internet quite a bit and have a life that exists in the digital world, but that’s not unhealthy. I even conducted a study on this subject, and, for some people, it’s actually quite beneficial to one’s social life. There’s a balance, though. You can’t be too digital or your life starts to be eaten by it. I reckon i’ve a good balance.
Anyway, gonna go outside and reconnect by disconnecting.