Friday, September 25, 2009

Another rant: Texting

I know a lot of people aren't going to like this, but here goes nothing. Let's take a journey through the history of communication (forgive me for generalities).

As far as we can tell, the earliest people knew and communicated with each other through the simplest means possible: face to face, direct communication. Whether you believe that communication was words or grunts, it was done face to face and even with physical contact. Those people also lived close together in smaller communities...everyone knew everyone else intimately simply by daily physical and vocal interaction.

At some point later in history, people learned they could communicate with each other by leaving messages in the form of meaningful marks on physical objects. One person could leave a message and depart, maybe a simple line or arrow in the dirt pointing to a cave, and another person would come along and communicate with the person who was there before through that message. With this method of communication, just a little distance is put between the two people, and some of the personal, intimate interaction is lost.

As communities grew and separated, leaving physical messages for others to find turned into delivered messages. If you had something you wanted to tell another person in another village or town, you either traveled over there and talked to them face to face, or you had a physical message delivered to them. Even more distance was put between people trying to communicate.

As civilization grew and developed, the necessity for delivering messages grew. The time would come when people would have information sent over long distances via a man on horseback with a sack of correspondence, train, a boat, even carrier pigeons. However the information was communicated, more and more distance was put between people.

Civilization may have taken a tiny step forward with the invention of the telephone. Unlike most television and radio, you can have some personal, back and forth with the person you're talking to on the phone. You may not be physical there with them, but it's usually better than sending a letter.

Now, we even have cell phones, where you can talk to someone almost anytime, almost anywhere in the world you want. This is supposed to make us closer right? That's what the cell phone companies say(then offer unlimited texting).

But it seems that talking to another human being on the phone is getting too personal. Now, instead of making a call on the cell phone, we just send a text; it's a way of getting around having a conversation with a person, having some back and forth, real communication.

I know, I know, there are some times when texting is necessary, perhaps when you're in a situation where you can't talk. But, honestly, how many times do you send a text about something when you could just as easily call the person and say "hey! how are you doing...?" and have a little personal communication. Really, how essential and necessary is texting? Maybe it's just another way for us to further distance ourselves from other people.

This is what they want. This is what the Polar Bear Project wants. The less we communicate, real, personal, intimate communication with each other, the easier it is for them to get to our minds.

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