Society Crashed: (A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail?

A broken computer monitor. I actually think humanity as a whole is equally smashed to bits. Image from youngthousands from usa on Wikimedia

“Marvelous technology is at our disposal, and instead of reaching up to new heights, we’re gonna see how far down we can go! How deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves! What do you wanna talk about, hm? Baseball scores? Your pet? Orgasms? You’re pathetic. I despise each and every one of you. You’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing. No brains, no power, no future, no hope, no God.”

Quote from the movie “Talk Radio” (1988)

Being a resident at the House of Friendship — a shelter for men for those of you new to my blog and also who are not familiar with the Region of Waterloo — has at times invoked moments of philosophical reflection.

I was never a philosophical thinker. I pride myself in being a man of logic and fact. I had faith that technology was a tool for solving the world’s problems and paving a golden path to a brighter better future for all.

Recently, I’ve found that faith has been shaken.

I’m writing this while sitting on my bed in a shared room with three other guys. I am unable to post this until I get access to a WiFi connection that is only available to me through libraries, coffee shops and bus terminals because I cannot find work and afford my own Internet connection, let alone pay my own rent.

This same marvelous technology has helped us understand the intricacies of the human brain from both a physiological and psychological perspective, yet I see no help en route for the men I sit with at dinner time who suffer from either anger management issues, addiction or dementia.

It has increased the standard of living, yet that increase is not uniform. Some of us here might never improve our situation, not from lack of trying but from lack of opportunity.

It provides the means for increased productivity in the workplace, yet it destroys the worklife balance of every employee, some of whom might burn out and end up here.

It allows for the design of houses that are bigger, warmer, faster to construct, safer to build…yet not affordable for everyone. I find it astonishing that we price a basic need — shelter from the elements — like a luxury item.

It grants us the power to reach across political boundaries to communicate what should be important issues — poverty, homelessness, unemployment — yet what’s trending on social media as of this writing is the death of Tom Petty, President Trump tweeting, the Equifax security breach, quarterback Derek Carr’s transverse back fracture, and Prince Harry sneaking off to kiss actress Meghan Markle in private.

I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being overly cynical when I say that humanity has become a shallow selfish species. The proof is in the pudding, however.

People have become so fixated on their Internet-capable devices that they have forgotten there is a world around them, a world full of pain, disparity, and hardship. Dating and romance has been completely lost, replaced by stalking that special someone on FaceBook or replacing relationships with cybersex. No one wants to explore the world as much as we used to. Why would we when Google Earth can bring it all to you in stunning hi-def resolution?

The Internet was supposed to make the world smaller and more neighbourly. It has instead become a battleground for “us” and “them”, with lines drawn based on political leaning, identity politics, and class status.

Instead of creating art and music that inspires us to reach new heights and move forward, we instead publish things that shock, horrify and incite hatred toward those who do not deserve that kind of attention, like the homeless,the  poor, or those who look different or speak a different language.

We have become self-centred and narcissistic souls. Instead of reaching out to help other people through our technology, attention is instead turned inward. Selfies are posted to show how great each of us think we are, but in fact we really aren’t.

Technology may be surging forward, but we are leaving ourselves behind in it’s wake.

We are fools to think this is progress.

Thanks for reading.


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