Monday, 19 November 2007

Human Behaviour

Not that I’ve ever read the book, and am nothing of an expert – but hey, that’s never stopped Monkeypipe – the idea of the Big Con is something that has always interested me. As far as I can gather, or imagine, or make up, the idea is that if you convince enough people that they are being lied to, then everyone will live in perpetual fear of conspiracy, and thus be easier to control (works best if you are the government, for example, wanting to keep people in fear and law abiding, rather than asking pesky questions like “why are we paying tax?” and the like). Actually, I’m lying, I don’t know what it is – but now you are scared that I’ve always been lying, aren’t you? In fact, I could well be something to do with the government, waiting here to track your Internet movements…

But I’m not.

What I am thinking about this week is the fact that in an age where the world as shrunk, walls come tumbling down and communications is such a huge industry, why do people seem actually scared to talk to each other?

I’ve encountered a few conversations that have seen people mention that they have talked to such and such, but when pressed, they have revealed that actually what they meant was that they had received a text message, or IM’ed that person, or read that persons Facebook status update – but not actually talked to them, no. No would they.

Another rather sad story told to me recently was about an estranged father who spent time with his son (might have been sons, I wasn’t really listening, I was checking my email on my Blackberry at the time) at the weekend when he was allowed to visit, but sitting down and playing on the boy’s consul. Not really spending time with him.

It’s happening more and more – people are only comfortable engaging in human contact if they are removed by at least one degree of technology. Also, let’s just skim the subject of people not learning their surroundings because they simply Tom Tom their ways through the world. Or the human brain becoming less and less exercised as people forget to remember, instead relying on Google, Ask or Wikipedia to get them through the night.

Where does it end? People in hermetically sealed Skype suits, sending instant thoughts to those around? People existing in perpetual decreasing circles of humanity, retro-fashions coming and from a few moments ago, moving quickly and becoming outdated almost as quickly, because the web of contact is instantaneous?

What can we do?

For starters we can send cards on occasions, rather than poorly scribbled texts or e-cards – actual real life cards. In fact, make a point of sending our thank you cards this year at Christmas, to thank your relatives for all those wonderful new gadgets that they no doubt are going to buy you. And when you get your brand new i-phone, turn off your i-touch for just a second, and dial in the number of someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while, and try, try damn it, to have a long, decent conversation with them, where you listen to what they have to say without your eye wandering to your web-browser or Sky + or whatever.

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