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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2010 :  21:45:46  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cracked.com may have the answer. Or seven of them, as to why the 21st century is making people hate the world.

I know it's Cracked, but the article still makes a compelling case. Basically, the author, David Wong, defines "society" (I'd call it "civilization") as "peacefully dealing with people you can't stand," and discusses all the ways in which today's technology (the Internet in particular) allows us to simply avoid dealing with annoying people. Annoying people are, Wong says, something to which we build a tolerance over time, and if we don't get that exposure, then even minute amounts of annoyance can cause us to snap or dive into deep depression.

Along with annoyance avoidance, Wong tells us some other things that we are all now pretty good at avoiding, to our detriment. A few interesting paragraphs:
...I've been insulted lots, but I've been criticized very little. And don't ever confuse the two. An insult is just someone who hates you making a noise to indicate their hatred. A barking dog. Criticism is someone trying to help you, by telling you something about yourself that you were a little too comfortable not knowing.

Tragically, there are now a whole lot of people who
never have those conversations. The interventions, the brutal honesty, the, "you know, everybody's pissed off because of what you said last night, but nobody wants to say anything because they're afraid of you," sort of conversations. Those horrible, awkward, wrenchingly uncomfortable sessions that you can only have with someone who sees right to the center of you.

E-mail and texting are awesome tools for avoiding that level of honesty. With text, you can respond when you feel like it. You can measure your words. You can pick and choose which questions to answer. The person on the other end can't see your face, can't see you get nervous, can't detect when you're lying. You have almost total control and as a result that other person never sees past your armor, never sees you at your worst, never knows the embarrassing little things about yourself that you can't control. Gone are the common quirks, humiliations and vulnerabilities that real friendships are built on.

Browse around people's MySpace pages, look at the characters they create for themselves. If you've built a pool of friends via a blog, building yourself up as a misunderstood, mysterious Master of the Night, it's kind of hard to log on and talk about how you went to prom and got diarrhea out on the dance floor. You never get to really be yourself, and that's a very lonely feeling.
Considering that I've already realized that my current social groups (aside from family) consist of "coworkers," "neighbors I talk to sometimes" and "online pals," I see a lot of myself in this damn article, and it bugs me that I've basically become a recluse.

When my wife and I moved out of our condo that wasn't in a "nice" neighborhood and into a townhouse that was, I was thinking that we'd get to know our neighbors and interact with them more, but that hasn't been the case. We had a couple of gregarious neighbors at first, but they moved halfway across the country, so we no longer get adults actually knocking on our door just to chat (and our neighbors don't seem interested in us doing that to them, either). If our neighbors happen to be outside while I'm walking by, I try to make sure I speak with them, but other than that, they only seem interested in conversing when someone arranges a block party or other such "big" social gathering, but even then, nobody is really letting their hair down.

Sheesh, I've got one neighbor who, when we first spoke, said, "if you need anything, just ask." Two years later, when I knocked and asked to borrow his big ladder, the tone I got was that it was a huge imposition. I won't be making that mistake again.

Perhaps I'm rambling, or maybe I just had unrealistic expections. But something seems to have happened that previous generations didn't have to deal with so much.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2010 :  01:43:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That essay was all over the place. I don't know how or where to start. People lied, avoided, equivocated and avoided annoying people long before texting. I don't get that point. Was there no written word before texting? There was something called letters. Remember those? Are written words the enemy here?

What is the point? Not to live all your life on a computer? Okay. Why is that profound? My dad yelled at me when I was ten not to watch those three (we had five) channels all day. So I went up and spent it in my room reading something moronic, or hanging with my head down off the bed doing nothing. Isolation isn't something new.

What, the only thing people did before computers was help each other? They were all positive? We had no old people talking about how the country was going to hell in a hand basket? If you ask me, people are not worried enough. Yes, in many ways things are much better. The rate of people dying of things like starvation is less than ever before. Some of that is because of technology. That I can give them something to eat via Pay Pal is no more or less rewarding than writing a check.

Break it down for me. What do you want to see? Communes? Part of our problem is not our technology, it's the American idea of rugged individualism. We all feel we have to be self-sufficient. Especially men, I think, although women have bought into it as well. Part of it is the isolating nature of our media. Computers are much more interactive than TV, although, yes, you can isolate yourself with them as well.

Sorry, this all over the place essay is causing me to go all over the place. What do you want? What is the solution?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2010 :  01:55:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The other thing is is being stuck with people. I have just been wondering why I want to be friends with people because I was stuck with them? I have to work with people, so we hang around. I quit working with them, so I quit hanging around. I become friends for life with someone because they sit by me in class because their name comes before mine in the alphabet. The only thing we have to talk about are the people we know and the past events that we have in common.

On the internet, I can choose why I talk to people and what I talk to them about. I can't talk with most of the people I know about anything of substance. They either don't care, or they're too busy, or they just don't have the ability for one reason or another. I have day to day contact with the people I work with, and I can't tell them how annoying they are, and they can't tell me how annoying I am. Has nothing to do with texting.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2010 :  12:27:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

Isolation isn't something new...

What, the only thing people did before computers was help each other? They were all positive? We had no old people talking about how the country was going to hell in a hand basket?...
Wong isn't saying that things were perfect before. He's saying that technology is helping people make themselves more anti-social over time.
What is the solution?
I don't know that there actually is one. Or even that there should be one. Perhaps it's just a stage of societal evolution which needs to be grudgingly acknowledged until we push through to something better.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2010 :  16:36:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How about Common Security Clubs as a start? Is this just a fake hippy thing?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1461 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2010 :  22:52:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I found Mr. Wong's article interesting and well written, at least.
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