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LJ Idol - Week [13] - The End of Humanity

Pen
Humanity will end. And we just might live to see it.

Well, maybe that’s not phrased correctly. Maybe humanity has already ended. The elements that have, for so long, been the definition of that word, have eroded, evaporated, been excised.

The two most important planks that have been diminished in this way are so basic and so obvious, we have to wonder how we allowed it to happen. And yes, we are partners in our own demise when it comes to this. The first element is communication.


The simple act of expressing one's thoughts and feelings to another person has become challenging, even mountainous. And there’s been a rocky reception when it comes back down to earth. It’s easy to understand why: we have, in great measure, taken to texting as the standard for expressing ourselves. Social media. When everything you talk about has to be 140 characters or less, there’s just not that much to say.

Then there’s what we are saying. Just what are the trending topics? Pop stars, pets, porn. Not a lot of material that is very deep or helps to define the direction we should be going as a species.

Ever since the first emails, we have known that the inflections, the facial expressions, those visual and auditory cues of the speaker/writer are not there for the listener/reader. Emoticons are only so helpful. This is not to say that using these methods of communicating are negative unto themselves, but the misunderstanding gap seems to be expanding. Devices that light up and make cute noises when you get a message; they make you want to ignore the person you’re having dinner with and just play with your phone.

And ignoring the person you’re with, well, that makes a statement too. And maybe that’s the loudest commentary of all, because, in a great way, that leads to the other element that has been reduced over time: caring for others.

You can see it in everything. How businesses treat their employees. How industries treat their customers. How the wealthy treat the downtrodden. There is a clear lack of caring. Everything is focused on the self. But, again, it is easily understood. When people’s needs aren’t being met, it’s difficult to offer up the sort of support that others need. And more and more people are getting less and less help.

It’s pretty obvious that all humans are not going to agree on all things, as many things that are positives for some will have a negative impact on others. And that’s where the communication and the caring that are slipping away will play their part. If someone is stating that they are being harmed, being victimized, being marginalized by others, we must hear them. The problem is that too often, messages that don’t want to be heard by some are ignored. And isn’t that what the distractions are all about?

We want to look away from the problems because we demand our world to be what we want it to be, not what’s actually there. And in some cases, we don’t want to deal with elements that we can’t change on our own.

But that’s the fallacy of what we’re discussing. Of course we can’t change these issues by ourselves; we have to do it with each other. However, we will never succeed if we are standing, singularly, refusing to cooperate, demanding our own personal way at the expense of all else.

Any hope of sparing humanity, if there still is any hope, is within each other. Using communications devices to communicate, and caring what the message is.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
bleodswean
Jun. 30th, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
This is so dark. :( My grandfather felt the exact same way about the telephone. :) Refused to speak on it. He was in his thirties before he had one in his house.
kehlen_crow
Jun. 30th, 2014 10:03 am (UTC)
I think it's deliberately so to get the points across. :)

But I agree that it is upsetting that it has become some how ~shameful to care...
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
People become obsessed with objects a lot of the time. And it's understandable. Gadgets are cool! We just need to balance things a little better.
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Ha! Well, I'm not *against* tech or newer ways of doing things! Quite the opposite, actually. But it really seems like, in this case, the tech is changing behaviors, making us less caring about the people we are with and more interested in the people who aren't there, who are sending messages. On the other hand, maybe old Granddad was onto something... :)
bleodswean
Jul. 3rd, 2014 02:03 pm (UTC)
I can find myself being against tech. We go without most of it here. And in the small mountain village I live in we have no cell reception so we don't come up against the kind of rudeness I've heard so much about. Not that I haven't seen it! I have, just not in a personal sense.

I try to not rail against too many things. I wonder when there was a time we did care about the people we were with. I find the entire thing with "communicating" to be so Jungian regardless of how one reaches across to another human being.
eternal_ot
Jun. 30th, 2014 02:20 pm (UTC)
A valid point raised...and I hate it when I am talking to someone and that person is constantly distracted by his/her Phone..hope people take heed...before it's too late.

Edited at 2014-06-30 02:21 pm (UTC)
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading... I try to make sure I keep my phone put away when I'm with someone. But, invariably, that other person will take it out and there's usually a moment when we're looking at screens. It's a bit depressing.
witches
Jul. 1st, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
i love this so much
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:29 pm (UTC)
And I'm so sad you're out of the competition (for now). Thanks for your encouraging comments and for your wonderful entries!
witches
Jul. 3rd, 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
aww thank you! i plan to home game though and maybe get back in later if i can :3

you're most welcome, i always really enjoy your entries so much :3
aww tysm, i'm so happy you enjoyed reading mine <3

(also, i'd really like to add you as friend if that's okay?)

Edited at 2014-07-03 09:13 pm (UTC)
uncawes
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:14 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I have this quaint notion that if I'm out with a friend, or a group of friends, my phone should be turned off. The people I'm with should have my attention - people who call me can leave a message, or not, as they choose.
Being in an LDR though, I could not survive without Skype. Or more accurately, the relationship couldn't.
Interesting thing there - we use Skype to *communicate* as close to face to face as distance allows.
Like I said - must be a dinosaur.

This dinosaur would love to say your take on humanity is wrong, but he'd be fooling no-one.

Well written, well thought out
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
If you're a dinosaur, I guess we're the same breed! I strive to at least keep the phone put away, really all the time, but especially when with others.

But you're right about the LDRs. Skype is no replacement but it's a nice stop-gap. Thanks for your thoughts and for a great compliment!
jem0000000
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:16 am (UTC)
I think it depends on what you're doing it for -- I avoid FB, and only friend back LJ people I actually know, in an effort to make sure that I care about the people I communicate with, so my social media communication is pretty minimal. But I love texting -- it's so much easier than holding the phone exactly close enough that you can hear the other person without getting a headache (because even at minimum volume using the ear that isn't sound-sensitive, it feels like everyone on the phone is shouting at me), and you don't have to get people to repeat things every five seconds on the days when your allergies flare up and you're missing tones. If I have to hold a conversation one sentence at a time -- and my allergies combined with my sister's speech thing mean that for at least one person, I do -- I'd rather do it at the speed of typing. :)
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:37 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm not condemning the use of texting, but it has changed the lexicon of our lives in a way that maybe hasn't happened before. The question of where we go from here is the problem. As people become more and more focused on their gadgetry, we become less focused and less caring about the people in our vicinity. It feels a little bit dangerous and off-kilter. The people that are using the tech properly aren't the problem, it's everybody who is so focused on it that they are excluding their surroundings that could cause real issues.

Thanks for commenting and for some worthwhile points!
jem0000000
Jul. 15th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Well, I'm not condemning the use of texting, but it has changed the lexicon of our lives in a way that maybe hasn't happened before.

Not at all -- consider the advent of factories to replace home production. They were horrible, terrible places to work -- but they gave us unions and the concept that many powerless people working together had enough power to challenge the few with true power. Today we see that same concept in Kickstarter campaigns, grassroots charity events, and customer feedback surveys.

Technology has always had a downside for every upside. It's up to us to learn how to use it! And I think, as many people as do see the downside to being more gadget-focused than person-focused, that this is one that we as a society will master relatively quickly. It's not, really, been all that long since the Internet took off; and we're already seeing "unplug days" and sites designed to let people use this global technology specifically to connect locally.

You're welcome! It's an interesting discussion. :)
fodschwazzle
Jul. 3rd, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
I agree with these points. Sometimes I feel like people want to bring about the end of humanity. They struggle against words and learning so furiously that they do not know how to employ them to make a relationship work. Maybe they do this to know the pinnacle of adversity, to see if it's really insurmountable after all?

Realistically, people who are functionally illiterate but somehow text all the time have other ways of "proving" that they are surviving. I doubt.
penpusher
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting (and disturbing) idea... there surely are people who are frustrated and saddened by how their experiences have gone. I guess all of us have those moments, but some are lifetimes. If all of what we do, collectively, is a learning experience, this element is a new lesson plan!

I often say that twitter is the place for bloggers who don't like to blog. And THAT is why I'll never completely leave LiveJournal! Thanks for commenting; it's good food for thought.
rayaso
Jul. 3rd, 2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
Very thought-provoking. I agree with you as to the social consequence of computer-driven communication. It is very limiting.
halfshellvenus
Jul. 4th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
And ignoring the person you’re with, well, that makes a statement too. And maybe that’s the loudest commentary of all, because, in a great way, that leads to the other element that has been reduced over time: caring for others.

I didn't find this as dark as some, perhaps because I agree with all of it! We broadcast to many but communicate with few. And the epic issue of people playing with their phones rather than talking to the person next to them (sometimes their baby, sometimes an older child, a spouse, a grown sibling) is just awful.

We need to take some control of ourselves, and yet we're too busy chasing the shiny, trending thing. :(
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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