Friday, November 9, 2007

Small Lives

Why is it that we like blogs so much? We read incessantly about mundane daily things that populate other people's lives, and seem to like it. Is it voyeurism? Is it simple psychological diversion? Or is it an interest to compete - to see if other people's lives are even more unsatisfactory than our own? Or is it that humans need social activity in a world where, even though the population grows larger by the second, personal interaction with other individuals shrinks smaller, caused by our Internet-mediated lives?

Why was lonelygirl15 such a phenomenon? And were we happy or sad to discover it was just a ruse, put forth by an aspiring actress?

My mom would say we need to get out more. Pick up the telephone instead of the keyboard. Better yet, walk over to your friend's house and go to lunch. Take a walk and look at a tree instead of a JPG of one. Simple things.

So the question becomes, Who's at fault? Is it just the way of the New World, or is it us, ourselves?

I always think that people are in control of their lives. I don't believe so much in fate, nor in destiny. I believe one has what one worked for. Our culture worked hard for the ease that the Internet has provided, but I'm not sure this is a good thing. Looking at the past, were things that were manufactured better when it was harder to make them, or better now that manufacturing is easy? Do you think that a car made today will still be running in the year 2107? There are 100-year old cars, you know...

But things don't make a culture; people do. There are the Luddites, and the Amish, who seem to get along quite well, thank you, without the things that supposedly "improve" our lives. And they're actually quite nice people, whose work in doing things like home building is extraordinary by todays miserable standards. It's all in what they value, and pride in their work, and who they are, and that goes back to their interactions.

Human interaction is and has been the driving force behind the success of our species since forever. We help each other, because we know each other. But these days, when even gameplay is done with strangers over a wire, how can we relate to one another, to each other's situations, and in general learn and maintain a pathos?

Research has generally shown that the best way to create a sociopath is to deny him human contact. With that said, is that the road down which we're going? Not just being lonely and depressed, but actually creating a violent sociopathic culture?

Maybe that's the Armageddon: killing ourselves through convenience.

Zebron and James