The internet divides us

In concert with mobile devices, the internet has ushered in a social malady we may not cure but for the arrival of calamity.

The “living” room used to be a place of congregation. Handicrafts, garment repair, reading, conversation, music, then radio and then the single family television, all of our favorite social pastimes took place in the living room. No more.

Now-a-days this room might host a single denizen, someone who has commandeered the large screen. The rest of his/her family is cast to their private chambers and their private devices where they exchange private messages with private eyes.

I recall Sunday nights, the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and then the Wonderful World of Disney. All of us, despite homework demands, or illness, or whether we finished our dinner or not, gathered in the living room to become collectively entranced as Marlin Perkins fumbled his grandfatherly way with the creatures they portrayed. And then ol’ Walt would come on…

Today, despite a house full of people, I’m sitting here, alone, in the living room, wishing the internet had never been invented. Or, if nothing more, that a CME might descend, wipe the grid and save myself from another lonely night passing the time, by myself. Maybe I’ll check my phone for notifications….



16 thoughts on “The internet divides us

  1. I hear ya. I hate it when ‘movie night’ turns into one or more other people scrolling through their Facebook posts on their phones. Apparently the length of an average movie is too long to be away from social media. It’s just so unbelievably rude. I think the next time it happens, I’m just going to walk out.


  2. I am torn between the nostalgia of my youth (and, apparently, yours) and those warm Sunday nights around the boob tube… and my utter love for the modern connectivity to entertain us when the new wild kingdoms of Netflix and Prime are in lulls. I like the distraction. But, then again, my mood this past year would be in a better place without some of the social media prompts I’ve been forced to endure from friends, family, and presidents. It’s a terrible and wonderful trade-off.

    I wonder, in 40 years, what will the children of the next generation miss about their youth? Will they miss having a device to look up from, and at each other, from time to time, instead of trapped in some VR world within their own heads?

    The future is always worse than the now, and yesterday is always a time to cherish. Is that not so?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The future is always worse than the now, and yesterday is always a time to cherish.”

      Very wise. Very wise indeed.

      I can only hope we figure it out sooner than later. The speaker in that youtube appears more cognizant of the issue — and as such took drastic measures.
      I can’t help wonder if there will be these vacation spots which UNDER NO UNCERTAIN TERMS prohibit all electronic communication. And people will PAY to unplug and disconnect.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. > “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,”

      Cocaine, opium, alcohol, marijuana, can all be abused. All, within reason — in rational doses, can be used to benefit. It may be that humanity must pass through the euphoric stage of Constantly-Connectedness, come out the other side, and learn to throttle it to gain its full benefit.

      The internet does unite us too; how else might I have (as my sister would say, an expat in Bath, UK.) met all you lovely people.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh. ASDs. Anti social devices. I write, someone plays mind strengthening puzzle games. Creative substance lives on a “cloud”. It’s all mine, hey you get offa my cloud. Unless I share, or someone else does. And they like and see the picture of the fireplace. Your house? No, my sister. Nice dog. Why does he always look surprised? Why does she look tired? I’ve seen more presence in a goat’s eye. I write, the reruns run, we’re together and I know the solitude of being alone in a crowd. People used to talk, play the piano. Now we tap glass full of pretty pictures of lies and grand pianos we can’t afford, play the audio Polaroids and buy the fantasies of happiness misery is selling like the smile in a dentist’s ad. Sad. But I write and murder porn plays out on ID, the dogs fart and a memory from when people drank a Coke and talked in their cars slides down through the wireless ether and what looks like alone puts a ghost in the room for a time, more real than a house full of missing people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You stare into a goats eye and you can see another universe. Or this one, inverted, or turned inside out, bones and ribbons of flesh, heart pumping, all of it working. And then you shout and the goat falls over, stuffed and shocked.
      Maybe we’ll reconnect in VR. All of us pretend to sit within a wrap-around 3D immersive TV all of us riding a carousel together. Or skydiving, or mining topaz on Mars. Naw, there’s no topaz on Mars…

      Liked by 1 person

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