21.9.13

Louis C.K: Raising Grown-ups and the Forever-Empty


Smartphones have amazing applications that enrich everyday life - encyclopedic information, instant news, GPS, eBooks, immediate access camera and video.  Even games have their purpose by encouraging the mind to play with complex problem solving. 

New mediums have irrevocably altered our relationships with technology and each other.  In the last fifteen years alone, we've been forced to radically re-evaluate how we handle everyday interactions.  More and more frequently we forfeit the intonation of a voice on the line that could surely transform and maintain healthier bonds than any easily put off or disposed text.

The most obvious alternatives are Skype or Apple's FaceTime app, which in a weird way can even allow you and a friend to have dinner together in your own homes.  There is also the much maligned Snapchat.  Predominantly known as the amateur porn lovers app, like twitter it's forced brevity is it's greatest strength.  Beyond the dirtier uses, the 10-second 'vine' type videos and captioned photos that disappear provide a way to send hilarious, sweet or just plain self-explanatory slices of life between friends.  If you want to be able to quickly share moments without clogging your phone with data and you love surprises, I'd highly recommend it.

Back to the point.  While I make no apologies for being a tech junkie (I have my own strange relationship with my favourite tools)  I agree with Louis that, all benefits aside - believing text is just a convenient and necessary evil may leave some of us caught unaware when this small concession starts becoming just another quick fix for validation to stave off the gaping maw of existential loneliness,  the "forever-empty".  Whether it's triggered by Bruce Springsteen or a bad day at work, painting over that feeling with the constant gratification denies the development of crucial human coping skills (even if you're at the end of your rope and need to reach out to someone, it is after all a phone not a text machine).  As Louis explains, it's more than just feeding a need for attention, it's the inability to just sit and be present without any stimulation.

  While I know I'll acquiesce to my future children playing occasionally with tablets, I'd like to hope parents who see this aren't just having a laugh and do heed his advice.  Especially his insights on children learning empathy through experimentation with meanness in real life versus via texting.  Count on  comedians to unapologetically cut to the core of the issue every time. 


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