The Danger of Self-Imposed Isolation

People or tastes changing from generation to generation is of course a given. But today here’s what I find strange. As instant connectivity has brought people together in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, it seems more and more these same people are choosing to live and interact in isolation. Here are just a few examples: Cars, social networks, personal stereos, smart phones, etc. And now to bolster my thesis, Discos with headphones! Yes, a disco where everyone has their own set of headphones so one can tune into their own music mix. Take the headgear off and all you’ll see are people dancing, and all out of step with one and other like a bad dance film. Scarier still is the dance hall is glaringly quiet. It’s an odd scene to say the least. It would seem the shared experience appears to be morphing into the experience of synchronicity. And that’s a problem.

I can hear some of you saying, “Hold on. How can social networks be used as an example? That’s interaction. How can that be isolation?” Well, here’s how I see it. Just because you post or text a message to someone doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is the same as talking across a table to one and other. Social interaction is a face to face experience, not something connected by wires. Oh sure, you can tell your friends about last nights party, but you can also put embellishments on the details without the questioning of validity that you would get in a face to face conversation. That’s a polite way of saying, you can lie easier. The flip side is you can be much more vehement in your dislikes of someones opinion on a subject, or of their tastes or beliefs. Again that’s another polite way of saying, you can be a jerk much easier than ever before. Another thing that seems to be prevalent is the act of vicariously living through ones home page on these networks. Everybody seems to  have some story book life by what they’re posting, but I believe it to be more fairy tales than anything else. Call me cynical, but I bet I’m closer in my observation than the people actually posting their own “status.”

The ability to interact is not something that should be looked upon as some old tradition. It’s a necessary skill that must not only be developed, but continually honed. Manners, proper attire choices, small talk with strangers just to name a few, are skills that can make all the difference in moving up the ladder, or sliding down the chute. They’re not only important, they’re paramount in mastering if one wants to get ahead.  You can not learn or practice these skills in an isolated environment, you must interact face to face and put yourself in there no matter how uncomfortable you might feel. Personally I still feel uncomfortable at social events, but I can interact with anyone I meet regardless of the venue. It’s a necessary life skill not to be taken lightly. Besides, as you learn and get better in these interactions, you can always update your wall stating, “Had a great time, can’t wait to do it again!” even if you didn’t.

No man is an island, nor should any dance floor sound like a morgue.



© 2011 Mark St.Cyr  All Rights Reserved