Are We Living the Reality or the Virtual Reality ?

By Saloni Jain in Fashion & Lifestyle 12/02/2016

‘The more time we spend interconnected via a myriad of devices, the less time we have left to develop true friendships in the real world.” ― Alex Morritt

 

No man is an island

 

Entering into relationships, consciously or subconsciously is fundamental to human nature . From a hunter-gatherer to a post-industrialist way of life, human beings have never lived in isolation, if only for reproductive reasons. Even a hermit’s existence is at least indirectly dependent on his fellow human beings who supply the elementary materials and equipments or other opportunities to be left alone. The relationships between human beings have been studied for a long time in the domain of various social sciences. The structural expression of social relationships in the form of social networks has received immense attention.

 

Face-to-face interaction with a person is the oldest form of interpersonal communication and sociability. Cultural changes and the transformation of technology has imbibed in the modern societies, rise of individualism in behavioral patterns.

 

Think of the way people interact. Talk may deliver information-something that can be recorded, transcribed and even digitised. But as you talk, your appearance, age, accent and your background contribute to what they understand.

 

Except in the digital world, it is no surprise that cyberspace has become famous for ‘identity experiments’ and con games. In the modern day struggle for ‘power’, a social scientist frequently finds himself placed in a fictional position of a ‘powerful subject’ who’s trying to decipher the strategies and the moves of a ‘crafty opponent’. We are living in a world where reality is more discursive than enacted, more latent than overt.

 

We now have social formation in the age of information.

 

Social networks were introduced to decrease the ‘physical distance’ between individuals. But, it seems that in the modern age, we’ve not been able to understand the concept of social networks. Rather than maintaining a constant contact with our dear ones, social networks have served as a major ‘ingredient’ to detach oneself from reality.

 

We’re living in a virtual world with characters created by us,  only if they could be conveyed into reality. But thanks to social media that keeps us wary of our friend’s birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions, while we write long inbox messages and post pictures on Instagram to showcase our love. Rather than wishing your best friend at her/his doorstep at midnight, we never fail to make a collage and post it on a social media, sharp at 12.

 

Albert Einstein said “I fear the day when technology will overlap with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”

 

“In a way, human contact is being replaced by electronic communication. People express themselves through posts, tweets, updates and blogs but not verbally. Facial expressions and other non-verbal communication forms don’t count much.  Forging relationships and making decisions is at times based on phrases or emoticons. It is not my place to say which is better but in a way it is quantity versus quality. Face to face communication is quality,” says Pauline Wanjiku, a counselor and a sociology student.

 

Most of us spend our days walking around with our noses buried in our BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc. And while we’re doing that, we’re tuning out the people who are actually present in the same room with us. We don’t use social media to manage our relationships, rather, we use it to construct them without genuine human interaction and later we use it to destroy the evidence of digital ‘love’ turned sour.

 

Back in 2004, O’Reilly’s Silicon Valley guys coined the term Web 2.0. He defined  the word ‘social’ in social media to mean, “For everyone to use”. Instead of stimulating a classical “aphorisms, epigrams and repartee” culture, as Tim O’Reilly wanted us to believe, the so-called social media rather unified mankind in the caricature of rabbits caught in the headlights of their own mobile devices. The new focus of the precious social media gadgets has brought us attention and knowledge deficits, financial and societal deficits that tend to darken the bright benefit which was so badly sought after.

 

Thanks to Twitter – Nowadays, a relationship can end in under 140 characters. We are so accustomed with the non-confrontational, dishonest, cold, lack of face-to-face interaction – that the entire relationship is well rooted in technology. Do you know how to tell someone you love them? Do you know how to smile at a 98-year-old grandma who winks at you in the frozen food aisle? Do you know how to pursue someone in friendship? Do you know how to embrace the truth, the death of feelings, the beginning of love, the loss of spark, the hope of romance? Perhaps, we should stop emoji-ing, texting, tweeting around the matters of the human heart and start living in a real world.

 

We are approaching a turning point where viewing our photos and reading all the opinions we leave behind on the Internet consume more time than the life that remains with us. We keep evidence with us not because it is memorable but because we do not dare to lose a moment. FOMO has taken over our lives to an extent we can’t even imagine.

 

We have become mere spectators because the memory has become more important than actually experiencing the moment, while we build digital walls around us. The modern day human being is no longer the leading actor but just a voyeur in his own life. Exactly, because we are converting everything into something memorable, each moment becomes less valuable than the next one. We consistently seek confirmation of the moment and try to make everything  equally important.

 

Lets try to Connect with humanity rather than connecting with technology.

 
 

Saloni Jain
Saloni is an epitome of sarcasm with the right amount of humor in her writing combining with extracts from her personal experiences. She anyday enjoys a cup of hot Americano, good music and she’s a weekend party lover.

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