Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thought Picnic: Leaving Reality for Virtuality


Aware to observe
There is a constant battle between being able to observe and being aware of ones surroundings. One will suppose awareness aids observance but that is the subject of some other research.
Touch is taking over the world, whilst Bill Gates promised information at our fingertips, he was at that time thinking of keyboards and screens – the times have moved on.
In all, there is much information garnered from touch but I find more of this when travelling not at the fingertips but at the touch of the thumb.
A touch of the distracted
In most cases, I will interact with my mobile phone holding it in one hand and navigating with the finger of the other hand. Too many cannot be bothered; they hold the phone and contrive the contortions of the phalanges to get the thumb of the same hand to work their phones.
In the process they get so engrossed in that activity completely oblivious of their surroundings and the people around them where they sit, where they stand or even when they walk. They are the most irksome when that is done riding their bikes as the handling of the bike almost makes me wish a very murky ditch is ready to break their fall.
Too many times I have boarded public transport and if anyone has a touch-to-interact mobile phone they are probably in that parallel universe absent to the present and the realities around them. It has become a societal nuisance for the want of a better description and it is likely to get worse.
Failing to learn
One cannot entirely relate this to poor attention spans or a general lack of awareness but I have hardly seen anyone on our Amsterdam Tram System who has cottoned on to the fact that if the push buttons at the exit doors are pressed to inform the driver to halt at the next stop and the lights are blinking, once the tram stops and the driver activates the doors, there is no need to press that button again, the door will sure open.
Maybe it is something about connecting the dots of events around you and paying heed to your surroundings but people have become automatons driven by touch with no other sensory perception utilised to show that the person exists with time, space, motion and interaction.
Dangers of this
These intra-personalised worlds of being oblivious cannot be to the benefit of our communities the worst situation being we may never be able to depend on eye witnesses and where help should be provided they are probably recording the circumstance to share on YouTube.
Besides our ability to appreciate beauty and take in our environments is lost to virtual worlds of virtual friends in virtual conversations doing virtually nothing for the enhancement of our realities.
We need to rollback these digital influences and get back to being social animals again – how we go about this, I would not know but the danger does loom and it will be more serious than depicted here. 

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