Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been steeped in the seemingly fruitless task of trying to find my lost cell phone, and it lead me to some feelings which I had to introspectively rollback. For one, “How am I gonna get all those photos/numbers/notes back?” to which the answer is a resounding “Maybe I won’t”. That carried me a little further empathically forward to really extrapolating what-all I use my phone for. In essence, I use my phone to call my girlfriend and family, access Facebook while I’m on the bus, and be a portable hub for my music and ability to write these pieces. I see some people check JUST THE LOCK SCREEN of their phones upwards of 15 times a minute and it makes me wonder what it must feel like to be that obsessed, that NEEDY to a piece of dirty glass that we lug around constantly. I grow increasingly aware of those around me becoming less and less. . . Alive.
EXIT TEN – TECHNICALLY ALIVE
It makes me feel as if even the purest atheist amongst must give time to the thought of “Am I merely drifting through life missing purpose and growth to just. . . fit in?”. Enlightenment has become a tide-like constant. I don’t have a slowly growing comprehension of the world around me, but instead, become buffeted by the view from a vantage point few rarely share. I am not downplaying the importance of technology in our daily lives, merely trying to paint a picture of how disconnected it can actually make us. Easy example, I write this column. I do it damn near every week, it is a constant in my life, and it requires the digital home that GraveDad and GraveMom so generously provide. Sure, I could print it out and start handing it out like leaflets on street corners, but I doubt you can google me that way. What about when you sit down for dinner with family and your cousin who is about the right age to stop putting LEGO bricks in his mouth is showing you his Angry Birds score on his brand new iPad? Does that feel “correct” to you? I’m not talking about whether he should be allowed to have it because of status, I’m asking whether he SHOULD have access like that, access to the online world where he can ask Amazon’s Alexa to “Play Digger Digger” and it can send back, “You want to hear a station for porn detected. Hot chick amateur porn sexy pussy anal dildo s-“. Let alone, remember being (ballpark numbers) like ten years old? Remember being told NOT to do something, and walking directly back to the thing that you were just implicitly told not to do? Flash forward to high school graduation and some people who haven’t grown beyond that ten-year-old. They present all their opinions as facts, flooding to social media with every complaint, problem, or perturbance.
Suddenly, they aren’t a constant anymore. You just unfriend, unfollow, and that has become the equivalent of ending a friendship. You don’t even need to give reasons anymore, you can just bail on anyone and leave them “on read” like they aren’t a real person, like they couldn’t come knocking on your door. You stop knocking on neighbors doors because they offended you once. You stop reaching out to help people because they don’t want to do it your way, or see it from your perspective, then it’s carried over into the treatment of our offspring. If they do something we don’t like, we occupy them, uncaring with what, unphased by what developmental stage they are in when they find their first actual photo of a botched surgery or a successful suicide.
Then comes the defiance.
There is no shutting Pandora’s Box once it’s open. The sheer visceral nature of what is woven into the internet does not come with censors. It contains exactly what you look for and to whatever extreme you wish to view it. From self-harm on Youtube, to straight murders on the dark web, once you see those acts you begin to compartmentalize them. I, personally, do not want my kid to have to see something like that and have to explain to them that it wasn’t like the movies, that it wasn’t special effects.
PLASMATICS – JUST LIKE ON TV
A product of the time, I bet Wendy O. would have written a monster about the internet and the disconnection it causes, had it been written this decade. Something between “Phones work both ways”, and “OH MY GOD, WE TOTALLY GOTTA HANG”, you realize that even those people who are genuinely not suffering any kind of ailment mentally or physically, and can’t delegate their spare hours well-enough. We work ourselves ragged to the point where home duties fall by the wayside, so we work tirelessly to pick up that slack and in-turn some other aspect (be it friends, work, parenting, whathaveyou) must lose precedence. I would wager that a large piece of this is that people in our lives demand that knowledge about our lives be present and socially accessible without needing to ask, and that is not the reaction that suffering generally breeds.
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM – DUST