You know, I’m a believer in the idea that this world is becoming increasingly alienating.
We have more forms of transportation and communication than ever before—planes, trains, automobiles should make it so we go places, see things, meet people—interconnect. Instead we use these things to get us from point A to point B—as quickly as possible, might I add.
We have more ways of communicating than ever before—instant messaging, text messaging, cellular phones, e-mail. We can talk to our friends with the simple click of a button, no matter how far apart we are.
We also have more portable entertainment. My religion professor, Brother Bott, tells us we are killing ourselves with our “iPods and mp3-4-5s and text messaging.” I couldn’t agree more. What got me wanting to write about this was that I saw Brother Bott’s concern proven. Case in point, I was walking to Spanish class yesterday and I saw a guy walking out of the JKB. He looked to his left and saw somebody he knew walking into the building. The way he excitedly tried to say hello hinted that it had probably been a long time since these two friends had spoken to one another. The man tried twice more to say hello. “Hey, Andy! Andy!” and Andy just kept walking into the JKB, iPod ear buds in his ears, blaring too-loud music that deafened the happening of the outside world.
You know, I love music too. I can’t blame Andy (whose name wasn’t really Andy. I forgot what his name was, but it’s good for the sake of concealing his identity) for having his ear buds in. Music is the communication of the soul. It’s a connection and a feeling that usually can’t be explained in words. We all know this. But I don’t think it was meant to alienate us from one another. I think it was meant to bring us together.
Tonight, I’m going to a concert in Salt Lake with my best friends. I am so excited. We are seeing Joshua Radin and Ingrid Michaelson. We’re sharing our love for music with one another, spending time together. And afterward, we will talk about how much we loved it. We’ll have one more experience that we’ve shared. And it wasn’t because we were hanging out in a living room all with our own headphones on.
I’ve decided that we shouldn’t let technology get in the way. We need to use it as a tool to connect to each other. Blogs are a good example—entire families connecting to each other, reading events in the lives of their loved ones. And at the same time, I’m curious how this compares to writing an old-fashioned letter or having a spontaneously long telephone conversation.
We’re gaining so much, and at the same time losing so much. I often wonder what it was like when life was slower—if it meant more to see your relatives when you had to travel by wagon or train to see them; if relationships were better when they were spoken instead of virtual; if asking a person what kind of music they like was better than wondering what they are listening to as they obliviously pass you by, deafened by the sounds from their high-tech music device.
Hey, I’m guilty too. But sometimes I’d rather hear the birds chirping or hear a “hello” from an old classmate as I walk on campus than wear headphones or be too absorbed in my own thoughts and feelings to notice.