Albert Einstein once remarked that, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” I think this statement rings even truer now than it did when Einstein said it. In a very short time we’ve gone from cars, telephones, and televisions, to internet, computer, cell phones, cell phones with internet, ipods, and of course social networks like Facebook. A world in which everyone and everything is connected every minute of every day, to a huge technological matrix.
In our current world of high tech gizmos and fast paced technology, few people take the time anymore to actually talk to their fellow man. Everyone is moving so fast, caught up in their own little worlds, that they often fail to notice the people and the wider world around them. Too busy in their quickly moving lives, they fail to even see when a fellow human being is down and out, in need of help. Certainly people still hear, but doesn’t necessarily mean they are truly listening. In a world where everything is spelled out in plain text on a glowing screen, we seem to have forgotten how read the signals of our own living world.
People have their social personae, and their Facebook friends, but there is a large line between having a page full of electronic companions (who may or may not really be who they say they are), and a real flesh and blood human being. Or as I recently heard a question posed: If someone posted a suicide note on their wall, would their social network friends even care?
Everything seems to be lost in the clicking of the texting fingers, the glare of computer screens, and the ringing of phones. Home cooked meals are replaced with microwave ready fast food. Value seems to be placed, perhaps incorrectly, on the ever-looming battle of trying to keep up with everything ad everyone moving ever more forward.
At what point does progress become regress? At what point does moving forward actually move one backward? It may be that we are now approaching such a point, for with everything that we gain with our modern technologies, we must also ask ourselves, what have we lost in the process? In embracing the new found “neon gods” of technology, have we in some way lost a part of our human selves? A sense of connection to another human being, the feeling of a slower and more relaxed pace, or simply the freedom of not being bothered by an incessant need to check emails, cell phone messages, and texts every three seconds.
Has our technology taken a toll on our ability to communicate (the tone of a person’s voice cannot be read in a text), our grasp of patience, the skill to adapt, or perhaps even dulled our creative innovation? In a world where everything is at our fingertips, is it causing us to sacrifice actual experience in exchange for a computer-generated breakdown? Is it possible for a society to advance itself into reverse?