Loneliness and the Technology Placebo

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Loneliness and the Technology Placebo

Larry Feinstein

LarryWhen I left the New York City world of broadcast advertising in ’86, the fax machine was revolutionizing communications, and only some science fiction writers envisioned today.

While I know progress is our cultural mantra, I feel the need to appreciate where we have come from, taking the best of it moving forward. I want to hold close the basics of our humanity because they are the forever tent poles of a time before now.

There is a reason no two fingerprints are alike; and it is because no two individuals have ever been the same and it is the mark we make. No matter how hard we may try, it is impossible for anyone to know us as well as we know ourselves. No one gets behind our eyes or any of our senses for that matter.

We continually try to cross this canyon of difference. To make matters even more challenging, we live in a world of constant change. Looking for the comfort of permanence is futile at its core. It is the idea of being alone in this way that we have in common with every other human fingerprint. One way or another, we all know this to be true and this is by far the most basic connection we have.

The means of communication has continued to evolve as our ability to innovate has kept ahead of perceived needs. Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond fame said, “Men have become the tools of their tools.” I am not all that sure we believe our actions have real consequences. On top of that, we love our conveniences.

Thoreau’s alarm back then has been echoed by many since.

Albert Einstein weighed in with, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” He traded Thoreau’s tools for his own warning on technology.

This is merely a cautionary tale, not an indictment of the future, or the present for that matter. Maybe there is a trade-off of some kind for appreciating things like technology. The gains from the explosion of technology are immeasurable from a social and informational perspective, but we have sacrificed our privacy to the cold machine at the same time, and maybe lost some warmth along the way.

I recently sent a book to my grandson, Shane, titled “Love That Dog”, by Sharon Creech, introducing children to poetry. His mom wrote he loves the book. I was thrilled. He is growing up immersed in his own gadgets, but there is still magic for him in turning the page.

I worry about books and poetry and connection being lost in a race without winners. I am here representing the tortoise, not the hare. My sole interest is enjoying the race and not the medal of fool’s gold. My own shell is likely too hard, as I am one of the few people I know that doesn’t have a Facebook account, I don’t follow anyone on Twitter, and I don’t understand the allure of Pinterest. Maybe keeping up with the constant connection through social media has begun to feel old to me.

Well, here we are today, technological utensils at the ready and never out of touch with anyone. There are very few questions without answer, merely a swipe away. If you ask me, it’s nothing short of a miracle. If you ask me, we should never lose sight of the fact that all this stuff is a fabulous convenience. We need to be vigilant that it doesn’t become a drug, shielding us from the truth, ameliorating our loneliness and our need to touch and be touched by others.

Running ahead is easy, but being in touch with what has always mattered, never loses its value.

  • Larry Feinstein has spent a lifetime in marketing and wondering what we’re all about. Soon launching the Mind and the Motorcycle blog, he can be contacted at larry@larryf.biz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By | 2016-11-10T05:41:33+00:00 November 27th, 2014|0 Comments

About the Author:

Léo Azambuja, editor of For Kaua‘i, has won multiple journalism awards in the state of Hawai‘i, including investigative and enterprise reporting, spot news and feature writing, photojournalism and online reporting.

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