It seems like society is in the throes of addiction these days.
I’m not talking about the coked out 1980s, the “crack is whack” ’90s or the meth craze in the 2000’s that showed the face of addiction to be a toothless, acne-riddled tweaker.
Today’s addicts can be in a nice suit. They can be dressed for the gym, or they might be naked as a jaybird on a couch. Their common vice is technology. It might be an iPad, an iPod, an iPhone or an iMac, but it all leads to the same end result – iTune out.
If you can take your eyes off a screen for a minute and look around, just watch how many people are texting something, checking their Facebook account, or sitting in a solitary zone with earphones in. We are addicted to pixels and isolation. Instead of the art of conversation, we engage in the art of growing crops in a fake universe like Farmland. We speak in monosyllabic grunts to the flesh people staring at us so we can end interaction with humans to talk to Siri.
Take a look around. It makes no difference if a conversation is in full midst, there will be furtive glances down to a screen where fingers are furiously typing, and robotic-like head nods are being given back to you regardless of whether a question was asked or not. We’ve put ourselves on auto pilot in personal interaction. We smile, and then think social permission has been given to check stock quotes or email.
And I’m as guilty as the next zombie.
At Sunday’s lacrosse practice for my son, I’m checking the NFL scores on my phone every 15 seconds as if I’m missing the greatest game ever played. I probably looked like an extremely busy man, as I couldn’t spare an hour to watch my son do something that required sweat, effort and no electronic equipment whatsoever.
It is amazing how “smart phones” render most of us mindless. I think I screamed at the screen more than I actually talked to other people. I did what I rail against so often and that was putting my personal enjoyment ahead of enjoying the company of others. Just because I see this type of behavior every day doesn’t mean I should join in.
We isolate ourselves so that our immediate sphere of interaction is us and our electronics, even if we have other things to do. As an example, I think the epitome of rudeness is when the person in front of you at the grocery store is on the phone and can’t even get off of it to engage the cashier. I mean, the person entrenched in electronics sought out the store on their own; They weren’t beckoned there by a worker looking to have his or her time wasted. Some even have the gall to raise the index finger upward which is the universal sign to “wait a minute until my more important conversation is over” before paying for the goods they so dearly wanted in the first place.
The face of addiction today is unknown because it is buried in a device, hidden from the public view
Reach Scott Cost at firstname.lastname@example.org to reload iTunes cards.