In Hughes' Footsteps

So now I know why I feel so alone on weekends. Or for that matter, on most weeknights. And if this news report is to be believed, then, the main culprit for all my miseries is the Internet.

I should have known all along but, no, the lure of the net was so strong that I blamed everything and everyone else but never fully realised that the root cause of all my social miseries was this darn computer after all. How could I have been such a moron? I should have guessed it from day one anyway because of the amount of time I spend on the computer at home and at work. Ofcourse, I have good reasons for doing so. Updating this blog, for instance is one of them, keeping in touch with very close friends is another top reason, taking part in various writing exercises and networking with writers from around the world, also, provides sufficient motivation to remain glued to the net.

Now for all these laundry-list of reasons, I deserve to be a social misfit and in need of some serious therapy, at least, according to the researchers. Well, all I can say is, the jury is still out on this one, and for all you know, a year from now, some researchers might come up with the exact opposite view-point and pom-pom it as a scientific fact.

I'm, obviously, not taking this report very seriously, but if truth be told, it did make me think about something. What this article suggests is that the Internet is forcing people to be 'alone', and cutting them off from the mainstream of the human social experience. My problem with this premise is that, I don't think the Internet alone is to blame for such a situation. The last twenty to thirty years has witnessed a trend in precisely that direction especially with the way technology has gained gradual ascendance and seeped into every conceivable area of our lives as well as the way in which the social and economic dynamics have changed its contours completely.

Let me explain. These days it is quite possible to live alone, and to have nothing to do with other human beings. And technology is proving to be a willing accomplice.

We don't need to go out to restaurants to eat food because we can always order a take-away by checking restaurant websites. We don't need to go to the cinema because if we buy a plasma screen TV and a home theatre system, we can replicate the cinema experience at our home. We don't need to go out and meet people because if we have a broadband connection and use webcam, we can spend hours 'talking' with friends from all over the world. Or for that matter, online gaming and virtual reality applications make it even more unnecessary to go out and interact with people in the flesh. There is, also, absolutely no need to go to a video arcade because having a playstation, nintendo or an x-box make a trip to an arcade unnecessary. And gyms and health clubs? Now you can purchase all that paraphernalia for yourself and convert a room into a gym. No need to pay membership fees and meet people. Just do the workout at home and be satisfied with the results. Even work can be done at home if you are connected to the office, and are able to send your assignments to the boss by email.

These are just examples. And perhaps, they may sound a bit of an exagerration, but frankly, I haven't used all the examples that I should. Truth is, technology is making it easy for people to isolate themselves and turn into recluses. It's not their fault but a result of how things are shaping up in the world we live in.

Just makes me wonder... what would Howard Hughes have to say about all this? Ofcourse, he could afford to cut himself off, but now it looks like technology is making everyone follow his example. Not sure if that's a really good thing though.


Ashish Gorde said…
I am not against technology, and I realise its value in bringing people together and giving us access to a world of information. But we cannot ignore the fact that technology has, also, made it possible for people who are not gregarious enough to stay isolated and enjoy a 'life' in a very reclusive setting. I know some people who have more online friends than offline and this is because they feel unable to connect with people in the real world. On the one hand, it's good that such people are able to maintain some human contact, but on the other hand, it, also, suggests a breakdown of the local community.
The Clown said…
You're a good writer.... wish you'd write more short stories.... smile.
Ashish Gorde said…
I do write short stories as well... check the archives and you'll find a few. Thanks for the compliments though. :-)

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