I propose that cell phone use is a significant roadblock to me and my peers ability to communicate with each other.
I would argue that the more easy access we have to each other, the more likely we are to view each other as one-sided and therefore feel estranged from each other.
Instead of learning how to appreciate the complexity of the people around us and ourselves, we begin to view each other in a simplistic light that leads to judgement and a lack of empathy.
Humans are communal beings. We desire a sense of belonging and togetherness, and with social media and the degree of separation that having relationships through a phone create- we start seeing ourselves as outsiders. Imagine a whole society of people who see themselves as outsiders. This will cause some serious mental issues, because the contrast of feeling so connected and feeling so separate will cause confusion that will probably feel like it’s coming from within.
But really, there’s no reason to feel actually connected with the people you follow on twitter. You don’t know what’s actually happening in their lives, no matter how transparent they claim to be. So the only thing that bonds us together about it- is that we all feel separate.
The way we see others is often the way we see ourselves (often unknowingly) and so, as I mentioned before, we start viewing ourselves as one-sided beings. This is of course a ridiculous notion- and when you sit down and think about it consciously it makes no sense. We all know (whether you try to suppress them or not) that everyday comes with it’s set of many different emotions. Emotions are tools. They are tools for us to act in the way that aligns with our values. Every emotion should not be acted on, or said.
Now this is where texting ruins everything. It’s called trigger finger. You’ll type a message and then, oops, it’s sent. Things that would not have been said to someone’s face, get said. It’s so easy to clap-back without the consequences that come with an in person interaction. There is such an unbelievable lack of understanding and empathy when it comes to this.
On the division of american/global society, I believe that this is one of the greatest culprits.
There is absolutely no accountability, and from that human communal nature, comes strong sides being formed. People bonding together with no interest in listening to anyone on the other side.
But this is not what community means. Community is not bonding with those who are the exact same as you. When you look at the most functional communities, there is diversity- in background, in age, in beliefs. Of course there needs to be at least one strong bonding factor- but people shouldn’t be so driven to be the same, that they are afraid to have differences. It sounds silly, but if people think they will be excluded for believing something else, or even just questioning something- that instills fear into people. We have created our own little oppressive societies, just by alienating people who don’t agree, or worse, alienating people who are unsure. We self-govern our bubbles through fear and not through love and understanding. Is that really how we want to live on this earth? Spending our whole life alienating ourselves from each other? Being too afraid to have a different opinion or to even be uncertain?
That’s not how I want to live my life.
Anyway. I guess I think the positive way forward would be for us all to open ourselves up to having difficult conversations and to think before we speak. I think it’s our job to unlearn the bad mental habits that technology instills in us, and to learn how to listen to each other and treat ourselves and others with love and if not understanding, at least not condemnation.
That’s a lot of words on a Friday morning. Here’s a picture of something cute.