Are you really enjoying life? …or are you lost in a virtual world?
I spoke with a newcomer to Canada recently, a well-educated young man from Africa, who we can refer to as Zee in this article. Zee told me how much he enjoys his new country, but he also quickly added how he sometimes feels isolated, and has experienced a few difficulties meeting new people and socializing. Growing up, he explained how he used to connect with people at church. Nowadays, few people he knows seem to have time for God or church, and Zee admitted finding this situation discouraging, alongside a growing sense of social indifference he feels has become epidemic in society today. Even in coffee shops it seems, many people appear content to sit alone on laptops or texting.
Driving taxi for a living, Zee commented how passengers will rarely speak with him, even about mundane topics like the weather, and he suggested that in Europe and a few countries he has visited, people appeared to be more open and friendly. Rethinking this, he admitted that maybe things were the same everywhere. “What’s going on? It’s so sad, ” he said as we sped past a young woman standing and texting at a bus stop. Zee asked, “Do you think she’d respond if someone actually stopped and said ‘hi!’? Would she remember how to talk instead of text? Would she be interested in going out and having fun?” Good questions, I thought as we got to the crux of Zee’s concerns, and he shared with me how tough he found it most days to connect with people in a world which seems increasingly detached and reclusive on many levels.
“Everyone’s so silent today,” Zee added with more than a hint of despair. Reluctantly, I had to agree. Examining today’s sophisticated global environment where every possible tool and means of communications is at our disposal, how can it be that instead of bringing people together, our communications ‘know how’ seems to have led us further apart? People seem more suspicious and isolated than at any time in human history.
Zee spoke too about his having friends who would rather sit home ‘gaming’ with the latest multi-million$ release, than going out and sharing a few laughs. This led us to a discussion on a whole new level…what would happen if all that money was redirected to help the poor nations of the world or to bring people together?
OMG. Is this where the virtual world has led us!? Unable to communicate. Trapped in a virtual existence. As Zee said, “It’s so sad.” The virtual world is and always will be…virtual…and unreal. Psychologists today suggest that our virtual and techno-surrealisim has not only made many of us less physically active, it’s led to us becoming more out of touch with life in general.
So, when’s the last time you enjoyed a great laugh or carried on intelligent, meaningful verbal communications with someone…whether a friend, or someone new? The good news out of all this? I got to meet Zee, we had a great discussion, and even a good laugh.
Friends, we can’t text or Facebook or even blog our way out of this virtual mess. What the world needs now…is to get out and enjoy life again…for real.