Real virtuality

I just wrote a tongue in cheek post about how silly Social Networking can be. And while I do laugh at it, I also find it very disturbing. It seems to me, that in our constant search to “improve” the human condition, we are actually straying further and further away from being human. The new “reality” of human interaction is growing more and more “virtual”. Once upon a time, the concept of “virtual reality” was the far-fetched dream of science fiction writers, and hard to imagine for many. These days, it is actually getting harder to imagine “real reality”.

We are becoming so attuned to electronic interaction that we hardly know how to communicate face to face anymore. When was the last time you sat in a room with a stranger and did not pull out your cell phone, or your music player, or your book reader?

Think about it.

I am just as guilty as the next person. Even now, I am writing this little rant on my computer. Sitting in my cave of a room. My only human interaction the voice on the song that I am streaming; or the text, from my “good friend” from afar that I have never actually met. My parents are also in the house, in a different cave, comfortably being mesmerized by the television. If my mother needs me for some reason, she will  likely use the phone intercom. That was my idea.

For weeks now, I have been off-balance. Lacking in motivation. Lacking in inspiration. All the projects I started with energy a few months back are waiting for my input, not ended but on hold. I feel like I am wasting away. I have been searching my soul, wondering what I am lacking … what it is I need to get my energy back. Is it lack of exercise? Lack of fresh air? Lack of companionship? Lack of sleep? Well yes it is all of these, but it dawns on me that these themselves are not the real cause, but just more symptoms of the real problem.

I have succumbed to the lure of the electronic Sirens.

My Argo has become an uncomfortable desk chair. I visit many foreign lands; have glorious adventures … yet never leave my chair. I often share these adventures with a crew from all corners of the earth … yet I have not met a single one of them in “reality”.

This has to change.

So I am offering up a challenge. To myself and anyone else who wants to give it a try. For at least one day, put away all things electronic. Put away the phone. Turn of the computer; the television. Even the music player. Talk to the people around you. Read an actual book. Write … on paper. If you seek adventure, actually leave the house to find it. And walk to it.

And if you find this a challenge; find that it was something you really struggled with, then …

.. do it again next week.

Let’s remember what it means to be human again.