I’ve realized what’s wrong with people. We’ve become disconnected.
“What the gork are you talking about?” you say. You’re more connected than ever; your whole generation’s been. Even if you were born before the worlds were all linked-in, comm service has still been common for a century around the whole system, you’ve lived with the ability to reach out and touch someone from where you live no matter where in the worlds they happen to be. Now ideas, information, images and media is shared instantaneously to everyone as the mere function of the programs and apps we use. And you can’t help but take it for granted.
Now you have your sphere at home that keeps you and everything in it constantly tethered your personal cloud and the rest of the nets. It keeps you updated with the news and entertains you with a flow of fresh content through your streamers. Every workstation, screen, slate and comm in the sphere can use it access the net and your cloud instantly and read the drive for media you already downloaded (which gets seeded back out to the nets). You carry a mobile comm—like you probably have since you were a child when you got your first texti—but now it’s integrated into an expensively fashioned advanced device like a Button or Droid. It’s always just at your finger tips, too; feeding you information non-stop about your friends through social network or international headlines that give you frighteningly dim snippets of events on far off worlds. We carry immensely powerful devices in our palms every day and only need to use a fraction of their abilities to link our lives together.
Your handheld super-comm also interfaces with every other device and environment around them to keep you and your most important belongings synced even when you’re not within the range of your sphere. They connect your skipper or crawler and provide navigation if your vehicle doesn’t come with it pre-installed. They tether to your blueye and blutooth to make sure you remain integrated even when your hands are busy and you need to make a vidcall. They feed your wristat a continuous ribbon of data; which then gives you another screen which allowing remote access if your device is ever out of reach or tucked safely in pocket or purse.
They assist you with your grocery list, helping locate ingredients for recipes and find you the best deals as you shop. And if you don’t have your Key on hand, a button or droid will access your shopping club account to make sure you get your reward points, and then open your wallet to complete your payment. They wordlessly access your transit account and pay your fare when you ride the maglev; or when you stroll through a spaceport before take-off they manage your spending at the vendors. They keep you entertained by streaming the most recent episodes of your current favorite series while you commute or travel.
They can serve a thousand purposes to you wherever you’re going, no matter what your occupation or destination. They connect with your workstation at the office and probably the equipment, machinery and instruments in your workspace. Most technology these days has an installed dock or antenna ready to sync it to your super-comm. This creates the opportunity for smoother operation of machines that start to age and grants additional functions to you as the user when newly released apps and software patches allow it.
Among giving you control of dozens of handy tools to be used daily, they act as personal navigators, augmented reality browsers, translators and checkbooks while you’re abroad. And no matter what world you’re on—as long as they receive service—they’ll keep the auxiliary devices on your wrists, eyes and ears cognizant and give you the power of any of these tools remotely. If you don’t have an imager with you, you’ll probably end up snapping the pic with your comm to share the sight on the nets. Now everyone in your circles is able to enjoy and feel like they’re there, too. Any images, videos, music or files that you have available on your drive or in your cloud is accessible and ready to open anywhere you go thanks to your droid or your button. Sometimes always being able to reach everything you have normally in your comfort zone gives you a sense of being complete.
You never miss a moment of your family or friends’ lives. You get consistent updates of their statuses, images, vids and anything else they wish to share with social networks. Your posts are reposted and your activity on the nets is followed by others so your thoughts are seen by the rest of a circle made up of others who are part of their own circles. You have hundreds of friends you can contact at a moment, and could keep in better touch with all your schoolmates and acquaintances than the previous generations. You can always make vidcalls with your relatives on the other side of the solar system and have a better relationship with them than your parents had with their off-world family. You are constantly in the know when it comes to major events on a local, global, and international scale.
You’re connected; wholly and utterly a part of the system of information. You’re empowered by the knowledge and wisdom of the collective conscience. You’re in touch with everyone on everyworld through a series of wires, antennae and small illuminated screens. Your generation’s motto is connectivity and no one after you will ever be less joined together in unison. But you’ve never been more disconnected on a whole.
In our synthetic world, we somehow forgot we’re all natural beings. As much as we’d all like to believe we came from something more than animals, we didn’t. You grew from nature the same as everything else native to your homeworld. You rely on the same basic needs and nutrients as every other living creature. And you’ve never been more apart from it than anyone before you.
Just because you invented complex technology, commerce and morals doesn’t mean you can forget you still have to be a part of nature. Remote communication, synthetic agriculture, entertainment and video game industries, instant-foods and machines that achieve day-long tasks in a matter of seconds might dominate your way of living and distract you from that very thing which we all have to be part of.
You probably live a life where the decision of what to wear is based on changing cultural trends; not changing seasons or daily weather predictions. Where the vehicle or comm you chose to buy wasn’t by consideration of what you intended to utilize it for; not as highly as what was the most advanced or powerful toy out or even what you thought would give you the most esteem amongst peers.
A life where the food you pick to eat isn’t determined to be the perfect nutritional makeup for your body and adequately portioned or prepared properly; it’s whatever’s open on the drive home after work that you haven’t been to yet this week. Where you consider yourself eating well when you don’t dine at the drive-thru and have a salad like once a week; you still eat a diet that consists of mostly sugar, corn syrup, carbs and fast-food meat. Where healthy snacking means eating half the candy bar now and the other half later so no one judges you.
Where you could live a block away from town and have a nice walk anytime you need to get something; and you choose to drive and spend five frustrated minutes searching for parking every time you leave the house. Where the closest form of recreation you get is closing the distance to your vehicle, or strolling through a shopping mall; not hiking up a mountain or swimming in a lake. Where relaxing and grounding yourself means turning to your trusty teli for an episode or two of your favorite show, or playing a couple hours of whatever 3D video game you’re working on completing, and catching up with your party and guild to show off with the other people on your friend list. Maybe you just like busting out a slate or comm to watch some utube vids while you lounge about the house; you don’t do yoga, or meditate or even just take a moment breathe.
You barely speak to thirty of the three thousand ‘friends’ you keep in your circles. You rarely ever get around to calling a relative or friend you keep meaning to ‘cause whenever you’re home you’re in the middle of ‘relaxing’, ‘eating’ or you don’t feel presentable enough to make a call. Half-a-dozen devices surrounding you right this very moment keep you linked but you never answer your calls or return your messages if you don’t have to.
And you call yourself connected. The reason you feel so unsatisfied, unfulfilled and restless is because in all your life you’ve never been further from what you’re supposed to be connected to. Every living plant and creature around you is part of an ancient network we’ve recently selected to ignore. It’s something that’s guided and nurtured us as a race for millennia that we’ve collectively turned a deaf ear to.
If we looked to nature for the answers or listened to ourselves and our bodies when trying to form our questions maybe we wouldn’t feel so helpless. Instead of searching for similar minded people in a chat room and the love of our life on a dating site, we could be part of our local community and out looking for our friends and lovers the old fashioned way. Instead of donating a little money anonymously to some aid or relief on another world, we could be contributing our hours and volunteering to help build for and feed the needy right where we live.
Instead of being fascinated and consuming every clip, vid and episode about our favorite styles of music and favorite forms of art we could be practicing to make it; keeping the craft alive and growing by creating it every single day. Instead of watching our favorite tale or adventure you could be reading it, or even better: living it. If it’s a tale worth telling you can share it the old fashioned way and write a book or film about it so others can experience it with you. Instead of spending thousands countless hard-earned dollars over the years on gadgets, fashions and fun nights we could turn to nature to provide most of the tools, clothes and entertainment we’ve needed to survive for most of our existence as a race.
Think about it. All the problems you face as a person that you blame on what society does may have something to do with all the technology that’s overtaken our lives, come between us and society as it used to be AND become the yardstick by which we measure our value in modern society. The more gadgets you own and the more of them you have connected together the better and the better your life will be.
But don’t forget what the cost of convenience really is. Not only is cheaply manufactured media, synthetic food and artificial social connection bad for the mind, body and soul but they could account for the stresses, cancers and depressions that plague us. Forgetting to be a part of the worlds we’re born of and take what they provide over the path of least resistance and the way of effortless ease we’ve made for ourselves could not only be making life less enjoyable, but shorter.
We need to disconnect ourselves from the nets and learn to not be so dependent upon interactions we get through a screen, remembering what it’s like to spend time with a friend or make new ones. We need to compare what we consume with what our ancestors ate to help think wisely about what we put into our bodies. We need to get off our asses, put down the snacks and entertainment device, and get some fresh air. A jog, a hike, a climb, a ride, a dip, a match or a game; just do something active outside before your bones turn to complete mush.
All this ranting is beginning to hurt my head. I’m going to give it a rest and spend sometime away from the screen…just..figure out some balance in yourselves, folks…I don’t know the answers, I just point out the problems I see.