Technology and the Ruination of Humanity

I am pretty sure that people have forgotten how to interact with each other on the physical plane.  The internet has allowed the world we live in to become so abstract that the very essence of genuine human contact has been partially lost.  Originally, it existed in addition to the actual world before subsisting in conjunction with it.  There is less need for daily social interaction and, like any skill that goes unpracticed, people are losing the ability to do it effectively.  Introverts are becoming dangerously introverted and extroverts are becoming flat-out crazy.  People are crafting false personas for themselves online and then attempting to carry it over into the corporeal realm and hoping that everyone keeps buying into it.  What ever happened to just being honest with someone and, more importantly, yourself?  I don’t care if it is weird or ugly or even boring, be who you are and say what is on your mind.

I must be spending most of my time overly cynical or exceptionally naive and idealistic because I am rarely in sync with the rest of society.  While everyone else is referencing movies, television and the internet, I’m often desperately seeking someone to have a unique conversation with.  We’re not just consumers of culture we are makers of culture, and I wish more people would remember that.  I don’t necessarily need everyone going around painting the next Mona Lisa, but I would enjoy conversations that exist outside of referencing something everyone found hilarious on the internet.  I know social networking sites make it so easy to communicate without actually saying something of any consequence, but when exactly did this madness start carrying over into my everyday life?  It makes me uneasy that so many people seem so unwilling to have an actual exchange about even the most comfortable topics.  I’m not asking for much, just some proof that what I have said has been heard clearly so my existence can be temporarily validated.

Despite all of the great stuff that the internet has brought directly to your face, there are plenty of things it has ruined too.  Albums and correct spelling are just two items from a long list of things that the cyberverse has taken away from us forever.  If possible, I would rather civil discourse and imagination remain off that list.  Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the vortex of websites offering the same regurgitated jokes you see reposted everywhere.  Do me a favor and go find a new person to talk to in real life and have a legitimate conversation with them.  Hit up websites with original content and share some thoughts of your own, no matter how strange it might be.

 

For more of my thoughts on human adaptations to new technology and how I seem perpetually behind the trends and genuinely creeped out, please read Gnarled Maws and Text Faux Pas.

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About You Monsters Are People

Wisdom, wonderment and weird for everyone.
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68 Responses to Technology and the Ruination of Humanity

  1. Cindy says:

    Many of us seem to be having the same thought patterns over the past few days, well said Mister Posky. Now, do you want to come and sit at my kitchen table and chew the fat while I cook up a stew?
    I haz vino …

  2. Nikki says:

    Oh wow, I can relate to this one so well. It drives me insane sometimes thinking about it too much, especially when I want to actually have a decent conversation with someone and the first thing that spews out of their face is, “Yeah I saw this thing on YouTube and…” And that’s it. It doesn’t matter what I say. Ugh.

    • Posky says:

      Things on the internet are worth talking about but it does get trying when everyone seems to only want to talk about some viral video.

      It sounds like what you are talking about is the habit that some people have of “reporting” the internet. You’re right, when this happens there isn’t anything you can say because all that person wants to do is talk about what they saw online.

  3. Unique conversation? OK. What is the significance of the light switch on the wall in the first picture?Naturally the eye is drawn right to that focal point of the picture. Is it on or off? If on, why? If, off, why? Has she paid the electric bill at all, now that unemployment has been cut? Who needs electricity anyway? Or food? What does she think about being “patient” while the economy adjusts? She has no surroundings. Is she in a room or open space? Does the fact that the drawing is void of any other elements indicate she is lost in nothingness? Or since there is nothing we are not lost but merely existing in nothingness ? Or has our nothingness become the new something? If there is no meaning I don’t suppose you could be lost. There has to be something that you can get lost in. Don’t you agree.?You have been holding that cigarette for 9 minutes. Do you need a light? Did her world become empty through no fault of her own or has she driven all people, places and things from her physical, psychological and spiritual world by her angst? Does her nakedness mean she has shed material things or that life’s emptiness leaves nothing in which to enrobe herself? I would write more but I am running out of ink as she seems to be running out of hope . She wants to be murdered by sex? That she wishes to die in the act of procreation seems quite enigmatic. Don’t you agree?

    • Posky says:

      This felt like Voight-Kampff test from Blade Runner. Way to deliver.

      The switch is just where I remembered it. It’s probably on because, well, I like it on. She’s employed, she’s in a room but I wouldn’t rule out anyone being lost in a void of some sort. Postmodernism: nothing is the new something.

      I almost always have a light but it’s always nice when a friend offers you one. She’s naked because she’s naked. Everything you said, save for the part about angst is spot on. She’s not material.

      I do agree.

      • Whew! I glad someone relates . Some of my critics say I have brain residue damage from the little orange things I took regularly from the nice man with the big smile and the rainbow shirt at the park 40 years ago. I guess you have to be beyond level 19 to understand. Timothy Leary and I play dominoes quite regularly and he sends his regards for the holidays.

  4. Heart says:

    Thanks for the disturbing article.. It bothers me to no end to see how some of the most profound human expressions and emotions have started changing.. Agree that no two people react the same way to a situation, but then there is a difference between sublime and ridiculous for a reason right?! I recently wrote an article about the same issue, and my no ‘love’ for Textese and the Person 2.0 generation of Facebook!

    And in the process of my research came across this book review, which can be summarized in one sentence as the article says, “……I’ve noticed—and been ashamed of noticing—that when a teenager is murdered, at least in Britain, her Facebook wall will often fill with messages that seem to not quite comprehend the gravity of what has occurred. You know the type of thing: “Sorry babes! Missin’ you!!! Hopin’ u iz with the Angles. I remember the jokes we used to have LOL! PEACE XXXXX”…..”.

    The link to the review article about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook can be found at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/25/generation-why/?pagination=false.

    Please redact the link if you feel necessary.
    Great thoughtful post!

    • Posky says:

      That was a great link.

      You comment on the sort of messages left on someone’s wall after a premature death made me laugh but also illustrates what I am talking about perfectly. Thank you.

  5. I was going to “like” your post, but I just couldn’t push the button given its appearance directly below the dead baby and all.

    Plus, does anyone else feel icky (and note the irony) commenting on a post that’s inherently dissing social media? Is this a test, and I just failed?

    If so…bummer. :(

    • Posky says:

      Most people laugh a little before they let that comic make them feel guilty.

      I love it when a though gets complicated. Just keep in mind that I don’t hate social media, I would like like more from my online and offline existence.

  6. I keep feeling like we are undergoing some kind of fundamental brain chemistry shift in our species, due entirely to the internet. It’s like that 100th monkey theory, but instead of going from sandy (and inferior) to clean fruit, we are going from clean (as in clear) thoughts to ones that are completely inferior.

    • Posky says:

      I suppose that is my biggest fear but I haven’t found any evidence to support that. After all, having all this access to information and communication must be beneficial on the whole. I would just like to see people use it more effectively and communicate with a bit more poise and consideration.

  7. Jessica Pupos says:

    Through all of these social networks I believe that people are becoming socially akward. By being able to have these internet alter-ego’s it seems that people can loose touch with reality. People get so consumed with all of the socal networking, television, and celebrity lives that it isn’t that hard to forget what our purpose is in life. We are here to make connections with other people, to be able to have great life experiences, and to actually live life. People seem to be brainwashed as to what is the popular thing to do, and they also get caught up in materialistic things. Everyone is guilty of this, but taking it to extremes is scary. Look at any average teenager today, there is a phone glued to their hand, they are texting, tweeting, and having every conversation electronically. Yes it is great that there are ways to connect to people, but if you aren’t able to feel comfortable actually interacting with those people what is the point? Kids have so much going on at all times, they are constantly multitasking between face book, texting and school work-doesn’t anybody read anymore? Parents are just letting their kids be consumed with all of this stuff, they would rather be inside playing video games rather than outside playing. I am starting to get scared for the future generations because this trend does not seem like it is going to go away any time soon.

    • Posky says:

      We are doubly bombarded with advertisements these days since we are so connected to the media. I can remember a time before the internet and things have definitely changed since its inception.

  8. milieus says:

    “Like”

    Haha! Just kidding. I know exactly what you mean. I actually wrote a paper on this in university. It was about how we have lost our understanding of real communication, and how Facebook has changed our lives in both positive and negative ways. I should post that paper on my blog.

    Keep up the great work!

    <3 Milieu

  9. If you have not, check out Marshall McLuhan.
    It’s ironic, on one level, that this thing which is designed for high rates of communication and social interaction is so isolating. Though on the other hand, it’s no different than a traffic jam on the interstate. Technology, ain’t it grand?

  10. untamedshrew says:

    I love your blog. That’s all.

  11. rtcrita says:

    I want to be serious and make a comment on how right you are and why I agree with you–for the most part. But I can’t stop laughing about the girl who wants to be murdered by sex. Well, actually, I’m laughing mostly about the “…at first” part of your thought comment. No, the truth is, I’m laughing ENTIRELY about that part. (Because now I’m wanting to know how close you came to being tried for murder and ending up on death row! Sorry, but I’m “detail” oriented.) And just when I’m about to get serious about this topic, I start snickering about the dead baby coffins–and I feel very wrong about that, I think. Or at least I should, shouldn’t I? It’s just my love of hand-drawn comics. I do them all the time at work when a situation comes up that I need to express myself on. My co-workers can now actually tell when to be expecting a “comic” from me.

    I will be a regular, for sure.

    • Lis says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Posky says:

      I was never tried for murder. I will leave it at that. If you want more details, you’ll have to have a one-on-one conversation with me.

      Don’t feel bad about the baby in the coffin, most people have that reaction. It’s as natural as something messed up like that can get.

      I’m set for you to ship those comics my way.

  12. Hey Posky – You can call me anytime… do you do skype? lol!

    T

  13. libraryscene says:

    Absolutely! I miss “real” conversation with my peers. I still am able to enjoy a conversation of depth at work, but out and about, not so much. You can imagine my shock last night when someone actually came up to me while working out to discuss the NASA discovery! (he knows I’m geeky that way ;)) So, since we are in the “shallows” these days, what is the solution, dear blogger??? log off….

    • Posky says:

      I just hope that more people spend time engaging each other in the real world. I’m not much for small talk or trivial conversation online or offline and that has kept me in fairly good social standing. Just talking to people at work wouldn’t be enough to me. Strike up a conversation with anyone, you’ll be surprised how willing most people are to have a real conversation with you.

      I sure as hell will be.

  14. So true and very well said (written).
    p.s. Love all your drawings.

  15. nursemyra says:

    I’d like to be murdered by sex. Or at the very least have Trent Reznor f*#k me like an animal

  16. Hi Posky. Good post on several levels from the perspective of someone lacking in geek cells and yet “using” the net for a variety of reasons that have roots in the pre-explosion time of the web–ie, before it was the domain of insane social networking and all the rest of the mental junk food. One thing that has become very clear to me is just how superficial and insubstantial and meaningless so much of this ‘social networking’ really is. Many people ‘connect’ just because they can–not because there’s any real desire to communicate. Yet there are also serious venues for sharing serious information about serious issues—that’s an upside.
    So, what is the difference between meeting a complete stranger in a coffeeshop and having an unexpected decent conversation about the wretched state of language due to texting and illiteracy–and having this same conversation online?
    Hmm–well, you’ve got to deal with a person right in front of you–and they with you.
    No safety via the computer screen and the distances of cyberspace.
    Or is there really safety via computer interaction?
    Is written text enough for genuine communication?
    Ought be on some level.
    And yet—face to face beats the hell out of “facebook” in so many ways.
    Or does it?
    I could go on, but probably ought not to.
    Yes, the issues of your post have been on mind.
    –No, I have no need for baby sized coffins or to be ‘murdered by sex’–that’s seriously distrubing. Hmm.
    Write on.

    • Posky says:

      It’s definitely a complicated issue and definitely one I wish I understood better. Perhaps, since I see little or no different between on and offline realities, I am a poor candidate to speak on this issue. I enjoy talking to people and have no desire to alter my authenticity due to venue or allow myself to communicate lazily and without purpose. I guess that’s my point.

      As for being murdered by sex, I think she just got carried away. I am glad to hear that nobody is yet in need of infant sized coffins. The comic is based off a nightmare I had once.

  17. suzicate says:

    My sister and I recently had a conversation about how kids have become desensitized to humanity. Yes, they are “virtually” engaged or connected to their friends at all times, but stick them together and they are not “personally” engaged. “We’re not just consumers of culture we are makers of culture, and I wish more people would remember that.” – now, this deserves a blog post of it’s on!

  18. psychodoodle says:

    i like the expression on the man’s face (human response): the way the lips are curled up in a smile and the eyebrows.. :) brings out pretty well the fact that he did see the Cute Cat cross the road…

  19. I was about to hit the ‘Like’ button since I don’t really have much to add, but it seemed a little too ironic/going against how I agree with your post and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. But I liked your post. Even if dead babies are a tad disturbing.

    I didn’t see the cute cat run across the street, but I saw a squirrel run across a power line. It was kinda cute?

  20. Ilona says:

    I like this post! I probably wouldn’t have found it if I was out socializing in the real world tonight. :) I totally agree that Facebook/Myspace, hell, even blogging has gone too far for SOME people. That’s just the thing though, as long as you have a good balance between socializing in the real world and socializing in the cyber world you’ll be okay.

    P.S. I love your drawings!

    • Posky says:

      I agree. The internet has it’s value but cannot and should not exist without the real world to ground it in.

      P.S. Thank you.

  21. I absolutely loved this post. As I was sweeping the kitchen four minutes ago, I was thinking about how I am awful at responding to e-mails/messages and I am also really crappy at answering/returning phone calls, and if I do.. I’m usually pushing for some sort of face-to-face interaction. and then people usually bail on me, and then I see that they were commenting on eighteen people’s photo albums on facebook in the time they couldn’t come hang out with me.

    The internet is awesome, but it’s turned people into unawesome.

    • Posky says:

      Your problem is an all too common one. Demand to be a part of things offline if you aren’t comfortable devoting yourself to social networking. I’m pretty invested in it but sometimes envy the people who just don’t let it rock their worlds.

  22. nikki04 says:

    I know I just posted on another blog discussing a similar topic. I’d only add that social networking also seems really encourage self-promotion (must think of interesting status so I seem cool and people will comment!) over relationships, in a general sense. Add it to the list, and check this article out:

    http://www.utne.com/Spirituality/Faux-Friendship-Facebook.aspx

    Great blog!

    • Posky says:

      Maybe I should stop even considering the internet as a factor and look entirely at the people causing my strife.

      Great link.

  23. Sherri says:

    One reason I like your blog is because it makes me think on a different level. It’s completely different and unique from the norm(al) blogs I usually read. You always have great points.

    I’m guilty of getting caught up in the cyberverse. Funny I came across this blog tonight. One reason being my brother in law and niece are in my area looking at law schools for my niece to attend, and my BIL has an artist friend here that he buys paintings from and my BIL asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with he and his artist friend. My response. “No I don’t really want to go. What would I do while you guys were talking?” My BIL’s response… “You can speak and have a simple conversation can’t you? Why don’t you start there!” Great point he made. Guess I’ll be going to dinner and conversing with an artist. Maybe he’ll drop some knowledge on me. See every experience as a chance to learn something new. Looking forward to it now actually.

    • Posky says:

      I just like to talk about issues that have no right answer. Getting people to laugh and then do some sort of critical thinking is important to me. Even if a person totally disagrees, I’m happy so long as they were effected by the post. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

      We all get caught up in the online mayhem. Let me know how that dinner went.

  24. Recently, I realized that my two most recent relationships were based primarily on pop culture references (especially old “Simpsons” quotes). It freaked me out. Kind of like learning your house’s foundation may actually be rotten. Only there’s no insurance to cover that kind of crisis.

    I need more original conversations with interesting people. I know this because every time I have one, I die a little afterward, wilting from the knowledge that I really need more of that interaction and it’s probably going to be a while until the next one (apparently when people have full-time jobs or kids, they’re quite busy). But thanks for inspiring me to keep pursuing having them, when it would be all too easy to just stay in my study, writing and writing off the world.

    If you are ever in Austin, let me know and we will have an actual, weird, imperfect conversation.

    • Posky says:

      I know a lot of friendships like that and, while I adore The Simpsons, there comes a time where you feel almost guilty about the shallowness of the relationship. Keep looking for those good conversations and profound interactions.

      Bizarrely, I may be hitting up Austin in the next few months. If I do, you’ll be notified immediately.

  25. moroccomama says:

    Your comics are so compelling I couldn’t read the little typed stuff in between.
    Damn you internet-induced-short-attention-span!

  26. Jeff Mazurek says:

    Today, I chatted with a co-worker about Charlestown, Indiana, a rural place that once was home to a wartime powder plant. This topic came up partly because I’d been reading about it, and partly because we were chatting about the general geography of the area. No internet interference to it whatsoever (as in no one saying, “Lemme Google that”).

    I’m happy to see that you tackled the effect of technology on our language and our exchanges. So many concentrate on the maddening anonymity of forum posts, which is indeed a mostly terrible thing, but your take on the altering language is a good one.

    I’ll miss albums, but they are a bit of grammar. Or a unit, rather. Albums pretty much died with the invention of the CD anyway. One producer said something like, “Congratulations. You can now fit 80 minutes of music on a disc. Don’t do it.”

  27. whatsnormality says:

    This is all so true, and you make so many excellent points, however you had me lost at “I just wanna be MURDERED by sex.”

    0_0

  28. paulandsusan says:

    You are both creative and gifted.

  29. Guilty as charged! Although I do not entirely shun human contact (and have met many interesting people both online & offline ;-)), and most people would have no complaints on meeting me socially. In my defense, I think I’ve always preferred inanimate company (except for Dogs) over human contact. So much more reliable, if rather boring. I prefer humans in short, periodic bursts interspersed with solitude and books. More tolerable that way.

    Great post and that head at the end…it’s is pretty impressive!

  30. ke2aii says:

    Although I’m probably one of them, I couldn’t agree more :)

  31. melissa mint says:

    I was hoping to be cool on the internet, since I’m weird in real life. But it doesn’t work that way…. Many try, and succeed to make this super coooool persona….. As they sit at their computer eating twinkies and making shopping lists…..just like im doing right now… The odd thing is, right before I read this I watched the episode of Newsradio where there’s a nude picture of Catherine on the internet..(now this was 1995, so it was a huge deal), but now teenagers have no problem sending nude pics, posting pics that could ruin them forever…… Because the internet has desensitized us…. …… Remember when there was nothing to do but hang out and talk, or when my friends would say “come find me later”…. I would always think about how long that would take back then…. I used to just yell out my window to get ahold of my neighbor when I was 10…. And now people talk to eachother on the internet that live a block away, I mean come on at least make a phone call for shits sake! I hate it more when stupid people that I actually met, know and don’t really like, talk to me online. I would rather talk to seemingly intelligent strangers ya know? Stranger danger!…. Nope…. Or one of the few people that I can sit at my table and just talk for hours……I love a good conversation and sometimes get deprived of that………. Ok so in a nutshell all that rambling meant : I agree with you on this.

    • Posky says:

      I’m glad to hear it. Don’t bother being cool in real life or on the internet- it doesn’t really matter. I just try to be myself online and myself offline. I make little distinction between the two and I wish more people did the same.

      Stay weird. It’s better that way.

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  35. I think you already know how this post has affected me. After everything that I have read from the creative and original minds online, this is still by far my favorite.

    Why?

    Because IT MADE ME THINK; it made me dig up my own truths about the issue of technology affecting the human response. I still don’t have the answer because every time that I think i already have it, I would be bothered of some inkling that that opinion is influenced by something I have read/listened to/watched somewhere out there (which is ironic because I think everything you thought was “original” is actually influenced by something not entirely your own–at least subconsciously). I am still not sure what’s my stand on the whole matter but if there’s anything I’m sure of it’s this: The Internet has made a difference for humanity and there’s no going back with that.

    To be honest though, there’s something infinitely magical in a conversation with someone where you can see how the light and his emotions affect the constantly-changing size of his pupils; how he twitches his mouth in some of his remarks (in 3D I say, you couldn’t get that on Skype yet!); and hearing the uncompressed-by-any-devices, uplifting sound of a human bark. Or laugh. Or snort. Or chuckle. Or even that huffing sound when you found something particularly amusing. And touch, yes…touch. There’s no replacing any of that. Sure they are little things, but they are little things that no technology has yet managed to produce.

    Oh I hope they never would. Those are some of the few things that have never been taken away from us yet.

    But I’m not condemning the Internet and technology in general. If used wisely, it could be a tool to forge genuine relationships with people you couldn’t have done otherwise because of the barriers such as distance, for one; and as something to enrich those relationships you already have in “real” life. But this is getting too long already, I should just write what I think about the whole thing in my blog!

    I just stopped initially to say that even if I like almost all of your posts (I still have to find a single post that would validate that “almost”), this, I feel, is still the best of the whole lot. So far. You could only get better, you know. And I haven’t read everything here yet, so yeah…

    At certain times, I have this way with words where it just doesn’t end unless I force myself before it gets fatal. Like. What. I’m. Doing. Now.

  36. May I just say what a relief to discover somebody
    that truly knows what they are discussing online. You certainly know
    how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of
    the story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

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