We are all addicts, we just don’t know it

The 21st century is an amazing time to be alive, don’t you agree?

You have no choice but to agree. Think about it, remember those history lessons that taught how people used to live ages ago? Forget ages, let us examine a mere 50 years, in cosmic terms, less than peanuts. What did our fathers do to keep themselves entertained? They actively participated in sports. Why should we do that when we have the luxury of gaming consoles? All the excitement and adrenaline rush of an actual game, with less than 1% of the actual effort! And what is best is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own air-conditioned house or plump couch!

What else did they used to do? Go out to restaurants. We can order in now! Why bother dressing up and hauling butt?

Meet friends through casual acquaintances and go out to parties etc. We have social media now, you can be sitting, again, in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by all the lovely gadgets and what not’s that make your life simple, and be conversing with someone all the way on the other side of the globe. A simple click of a button and a perfect stranger is not privy to all the information you wish to share, and then some.

Our fathers used to write letters and go to post offices? We have email and DHL, call them up and they come a runnin’. Whereas an actual letter is such a wonderful thing to receive, to keep, to cherish, to lock away in a box of memories, all we do now is type words on a screen and transmit that to anyone and everyone, it makes no difference.

That is basically it. McDonaldisation and Desensitization of the masses as a result of technology. We no longer have the capacity to engage in actual human contact, personal, one-on-one. Case-in-point, the Asian couple that let their newborn baby girl DIE, yes DIE, as a result of gross negligence as they were too immersed in playing an online game.

I have tried online gaming. It was an addiction. I would stay up for hours on end, bearing in mind that I taunted and poked fun at my friend who introduced me to it initially, calling it a lousy waste of time for the lazy masses. I was soon to join them.
Chatrooms. Big trend back when the internet came out, especially Yahoo! Chatrooms, those were amazing. I still remember my “alias”, my “alter-ego”, my “suave smooth operator”. I was 12 pretending to be 18 and getting away with it.
I joined facebook initially to reconnect with all my classmates whom had travelled to their respective parts of the world, as you know, Kuwait is a transient society, here today, gone tomorrow is the motto. But then it spiraled to those applications, the games, making friends with strangers, even meeting those strangers. Remember the case of the 20-year old Australian girl who met and subsequently was murdered by someone she befriended on Facebook, who claimed to be someone he was not? Does that deter us? No. You still have the masses on Farmville, Gangsters or what not. Is it a good way to spend a few minutes? Absolutely. However, those minutes have turned to hours, those hours into days, until you find yourself completely and utterly immersed in a world that is not your own.
We no longer talk to people verbally. Ever since the invention of the mobile, the vocal connection has died out, replaced instead by 160 characters or more. Which is understandable when talking text messaging, as more letters means more messages meaning more money, however, is it necessary to follow those same speech patterns when typing up an email? I no longer am able to distinguish whether people are just abbreviating words or whether they are plain ignorant, substituting there for their, they’re, your for you’re and your, even poses and pauses! Are we really in that much of a hurry, in our daily lives, have they spun so hectically out of control that we do not have the millisecond required to type properly? The worst part is, some people believe this is the language of the 21st century, and insist on using it in their everyday lives, even, say, when submitting a paper to a professor in university! I saw this with my own two eyes, the numbers replacing letters, the Zs instead of Ss.

But hey, it’s the 21st century right? Get with it or get out, succumb to the mass disillusionment and conform to the new system. Embrace the machine, forget about the red pill.

Wrong.

Would you believe that there are people now, who are making a living by deleting your online persona for you? And even counseling those who have lost precious data that is irrecoverable? Yes, they are making money out of it. They do what you cannot, they delete your facebook, your twitter, your blog. Have a look:

Based in the Netherlands, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a website that logs into your accounts and deletes all of your data, friend-by-friend and post-by-post.

We have dug ourselves into a ditch, and cannot get out of it. I admit, I am an email addict, I check my email maybe a dozen or more times a day. But I cured my online gaming addiction myself, and have never relapsed, despite the temptation.

Have you ever googled yourself? Pardon the humor in the question, but contemplate the reality of it. How much of yourself is literally out there for everyone to know? Despite its intentions, LinkedIN is literally a gateway into your autobiography. You detail every aspect of your professional life, in hopes of landing that dream job, oblivious to the fact that the information you share can be used for identity theft.
After all, the man in France who hacked Obama’s facebook or email did not do it through brute force, but rather common sense. He read Obama’s profile and guessed his password. How many of us use passwords that are a combination of our birthdays and nicknames, or worse, merely our mobile numbers? Or childrens names, or birthdays, or maiden names. The list is endless, and given enough patience, I believe all passwords are crackable as a result of googling ourselves.

How many posts do you make on the internet using one single nickname? You can find out so much about a person by doing that.

Not to mention the shamelessness-ness of people online. You may like S&M, that’s your personal choice, no one can hold it against you, except maybe in a court of law, but do you have to like the page “S&M” on facebook?

They even had a study on how people select their display pictures for their online profiles. We are literally studying ourselves as we move into this uncharted territory of humanless emotion and quick fixes.

We are the cure, we are the disease.

This will be my last post for a while, hope you enjoyed it. I believe I have left enough material to keep you entertained in my absence.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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