No, this isn’t about global climate change
There’s a Russian saying “У каждого свои кукушки,” which translates as everyone has their own cuckoos.
It’s a charming way of acknowledging the fact that each and every one of us is just a little peculiar in our own way. And sometimes not just a little.
Aside from Media and checking my Facebook account once a week or so, I don’t really get involved with social media. I prefer to talk to people through my phone than to text them, and I’m not tremendously interested in having a ton of apps on my phone that could interrupt me regularly with alerts. Most of my communication is face-to-face or at worst via a Skype video call.
But from what I learn about these apps (InstaSnapApp or something) they seem to be driving people further and further from any semblance of reality. There are people who earn a living rushing from one photo op to another in order to create an online illusion of an Absolutely Fabulous life while in reality being so jet-lagged and deprived of real human contact that they are nothing more than human-shaped hamsters frantically running on a virtual wheel that takes them nowhere.
Teenagers, meanwhile, derive utterly fallacious impressions of reality peddled by people whose primary source of income comes from being shills for the products of large corporations. To Consume Is To Live.
I’d like to think that these are passing trends and that most people will gradually begin to filter out spurious inputs and find ways to re-establish real human connections with one another.
Unfortunately I can’t see my way to such optimism as the pace of technological innovation seems guaranteed to carry us further and further down the road to increasing isolation. Virtual Reality and Sensory Augmentation seem certain to entice many into imaginary worlds in which desires can be satisfied instantly, tailored to the cuckoos of each individual in a way that no real interaction could compete with.
What will that mean for us as a social species? We’re increasingly funneled into buckets within which we interact mostly with people just like ourselves. While that’s often not a bad thing (it’s impossible, for example, to imagine social progress being achieved…