This was my first thought after seeing the consequences of what occurred in London. What’s going on? It takes humans to create the most amazing inventions, to inspire nations but it can take just one man to create chaos and revulsion. How did that man get to the point of wanting to do something so dreadful and awful, as each of these disasters are?
Are we now responsible for creating generations of misplaced, misinformed and maladjusted individuals who don’t know how to be kind, considerate and understanding? Who don’t understand what empathy is or how to be conciliatory? Who don’t believe in themselves enough that others can talk him into believing in such a horrifying atrocious cause. But I don’t just blame these misinformed creatures, I blame technology.
We live in a world led by technology – the growth of AI and everything in the cloud. We are supposed to be so “connected” and our online lifestyles are supposed to provide us insight and inspiration. Yet why are we so lonely? Something is wrong –a piece of the puzzle is missing.
It is well known now that suicide rates are up around the world. The World Health Organisation recently made clear that whilst suicide rates “vary enormously from country to country”, the main elements – “the pressures of life that cause emotional distress” are very similar everywhere.
In the pressures of trying to have lots of friends on Facebook, become an “influencer” on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blog and the hundreds of other forms of social media, have we forgotten to become a friend to our neighbour, connect intimately with family or friends or become a mentor at work and give our time to help another person?
Why do our younger generations feel so unsure about what lies ahead and older people fear loneliness? Young people take others’ opinions to be more important than their own, leading to suicide rates of under 20-year-old being the second highest cause of death. Again, what’s wrong with this picture?
I use social media also but it does not run my life nor tell me who my friends are or how I will find my peace and solace. I know that love will be found in the eyes and touch of another human being, not that I can have a true relationship with a person on Tinder or FB?
I have been using computers since I was 18 and was the second mainframe operator trained in Australia by Nashua/IBM to work for what was then Gadens Bowen in Double Bay. That’s over 40 years! So, computers have been a part of my life for a long time but they do not rule my life, nor do I value them over friendships and real relationships. I don’t wake up and grab my phone to see what the world thinks of me or what’s going on. Yet I am informed of all the things I need to know. What’s going on is right in front of me, around me and made up of the things I do, not what others do. I am aware of the world but if I want to change it or make it better, it starts with me.
Technology changes the way we think, how we feel and our safety – it creates less physical activity, less relationship building in real time and overall less reality.
I am not a psychologist just a simple counsellor and business manager but common sense would suggest that what’s more important today is the sense of self. This is the heart of the issue for every person living today. If you are connected to life, not through your phone, but doing, being and experiencing, and you have purpose, structure and belief, you feel loved and you love who you are, then the risk of you doing anything volatile or negative will be slim if not nought. If, however, your image of self is negative, you feel unworthy or misplaced in our great society and you feel lost and lacking direction then your overall focus will be on the emotionally unavailable, a life unreal, the substitution of real life for online virtual reality. A person can become fragile and at risk of negative actions which in turn strengthens social isolation, reinforcing the image of failure, weakening self-belief and confidence and strengthening self-loathing.
It is important to know who we are. Know Thyself – as Socrates stated – where people make themselves appear ridiculous when they are trying to know obscure things before they know themselves. Plato also alluded to the fact that understanding ‘thyself,’ would have a greater yielded factor of understanding the nature of a human being. Basic and true.
So why do we put so much responsibility on technology and not ourselves? Do we have such little understanding today of who and why we are? Do we create images, cling to ideological constructs that take us further away from our true nature as humans?
If you have a young family, or a teenager don’t ignore the need for human contact and connection. Create the fantasy, amazing memories and moments through tactile interaction and experiences. Let the intangibles like love, caring, understanding and empathy become more important that the immoral “reality” that is technology. I am not stating that all technology is evil or unprincipled but there is a place in life for technology, it is, most definitely not to run my life nor dictate my choices, my friendships, my influences. I can only hope that each individual finds their truth and self-belief in looking in a mirror not in the face of a Smartphone or iPad.Return to Blog