Modern, Isolationist Attitude to Blame for Decline


Down with a world in which the guarantee that we

Will not die of starvation has been purchased with

The guarantee that we will die of boredom.

–Situationist graffiti

Paris 1968

Not too long ago I shared a laugh with my friend Christian over a magazine article about a girl who suffered a nervous breakdown after losing her cell phone to paternal discipline. There was a nervous edge to our laughter, which is often just a decoy for disaster, a respite human nature grants as a cruel joke before the moment of insight. Not only did such a ridiculous response to something so frivolous seem outrageous, but plausible—after all, she was onto something.

In the interview, the girl explained that she felt herself disappearing without the anesthesia of constant connectivity to keep her grounded.

With children of divorce becoming the majority and children of monogamy the minority, and family values degenerating rapidly, most of us have made a conscious effort to forage our own little extended families among our peers in order to achieve some semblance of unity. So, it would seem as though with such an astute understanding of the importance of the human experience that we accept like an ugly heirloom, like a gross testament to our society’s standards, we would take that knowledge and use it as a way to come together in the guise of connection, which, in a skewed way, is what we do with websites like Facebook and MySpace and the like—with social networks for every city, every high school, and every university, and with groups for any interest, they provide us with a sense of community.

But despite desperate efforts to maintain fellowship, millennial youth culture is becoming progressively more isolated. Because when a screen serves as the medium through which two people speak for too long, the personal quality of relationships diminishes. There is just something so objective about the whole business. What many people fail to understand is that when you are connected to everything all the time and all at once, then you are ultimately not connected to anything at all. The trouble with social networking sites is that they allow people to isolate themselves while feeling seemingly connected.

And I can only ask who is paying attention. If a father can call himself a parent and assume no responsibility—which is so often the case with fathers today until non-involvement is almost expected—and two people who’ve never met can call themselves friends, then pretty soon all relationship decorum will become obsolete. We will start to have people who call themselves couples without ever really dating and friends who call themselves close without ever really talking. The concept of personal boundaries and social formalities will dissolve, and the lines which distinguish love from infatuation—enduring devotion from fleeting desire—will fault.

We have reached the age of indiscretion, where anything goes and nothing is shocking. As soon as we embrace this reality, take it for what it is, we slouch one step closer toward societal entropy. When that happens, I fear we will have reached the end of humanity as we now understand it. I believe that time is soon.


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