The Perfect Paradox
By John Harline
It’s just crazy. The pace of our world’s technological advances is staggering. We are amazed, almost daily, by innovative breakthroughs that serve to improve our lives and benefit society in magnificent ways. The result is an instant connection to a faster, better and more efficient communication solution. Right? In many respects, the answer is a resounding “yes.” However, as is also the case, an inherent disconnect occurs when we, as a society, become too dependent on the very things that bring paralyzing convenience.
Take for example, the advances in how we communicate. We are astounded by how quickly our thoughts are transmitted either via email or text. If “instant message” is the now, then Facetime is the now, personified, as it brings communication to a new “real time” electronic sensory level. Yet, is there a part of our psyche that yearns for the nostalgic simplicity of yesterday? The meaningful act of writing and sending a letter is becoming a lost art. The anticipation of receiving a written response is a thing of the past. Yet, how novel an idea to know that someone who cares, took the time to actually write their thoughts on paper. Has our ability to instantaneously connect also caused our imminent disconnect from one another.
Consider the wave of terror that washes over us when one of our many “devices” is on the blitz. An ailing operating system is enough to bring our world to a screeching halt. While advances in technology place a world of information into the palm of our hand, the addiction to our electronic appendages grows more and more ominous. Has our connection to one another been replaced with the reclusive connection to our machines?
As a child, I was perfectly content to use my imagination as a form of entertainment. I remember playing outside from dawn till dusk and coming home without so much as the bat of an eye from my parents. I found things to do with my friends and most certainly with my mind. As I fast forward to the present, I am astounded that my children can hardly pry themselves from their hand-held gaming systems and remote controls long enough to go outside. Once there, I am challenged to keep them entertained so as to prevent them from falling into a zombie-like boredom. Is this what technology has indirectly caused?
As technology advances, so do the methods of disseminating information to the public. As a society, we are bombarded with images on television and social media that shape our opinions of a changing world. Sensationalized news stories delivered at lightning speed create mindless chaos that can affect the psyche of those who are easily impressionable. Likewise, it can plant fear and stifle growth, and in effect, deprive people from experiences that are potentially critical to their development. Are these innovative advancements causing us to be fearful of our own shadows? Are we becoming empowered by the knowledge of our changing world, or are we choosing to withdraw from everything and everyone?
Therein lies the perfect paradox… technological advances connect us to a world that is forever changing, yet simultaneously disconnect us from the very world that gives rise to this surge in innovation.
Do we care to change the cycle, or is our addiction to progress the beginning of our undoing?