• Patrick McAndrew

The New Social Fabric of Society

Sometimes my posts may be a little much.  I wouldn’t really call myself an aggressive person, but I do believe some of my posts are beating a dead horse.  “We get it, dude.  You think technology is hurting society!  Big deal, man!  Technology is alive and well and here to stay!”

This is true.  Many will say that Facebook is “ripping apart society.”  I might have said that in a past post.  Many say that we are becoming too dependent on technology, but I’m led to believe that dependence is a subjective term as our opinion on what dependence is varies from person to person.  With that said, a lot of the thoughts that I post on The Low Tech Trek are backed by research, science, and such and such a scientifically, intellectual, pish posh, jargon.  However, my thoughts are likely easily disputed.  People may agree or disagree with me.  What we all can agree on is that, technology, the Internet, social media, has completely transformed the social fabric of society.

The way in which we interact with one another is changing and it is changing FAST. In several ways, this is not a bad thing.  For hundreds of years, the way we interact with one another has been progressing.  Technology has allowed us to communicate with people from all over the world in an instant!  It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.  Technology has also allowed us to explore hidden gems, discover cures for diseases, prolong life, and increase our levels of convenience, comfort, accessibility, and pleasures, and just about everything else.

So what’s the big deal?  Technology sounds great!  Well, it is great and that’s the problem.  Technology is so great that society has adopted it as a religion, abiding by its every whim.  We used to have our own structured morals and beliefs, responsibilities and obligations that we lived by.  Though some of us retain those morals of being a good person and always making our bed, a large majority of us are being conditioned in response to technology rather than our own thoughts and actions.

We are reacting to life instead of acting in life.  Every time we get a message, every time we see a like or comment on Facebook, or every time someone posts something that than turns us to something else, we are reacting.  Before you know it, so much of your precious time has been consumed and wasted on things that don’t really matter.  This drastically changes the social fabric of how our society works.  Though I shouldn’t say “works.”  This endless barrage of useless information distracts us from more meaningful work that so much of our life evaporates into the air like the steam from a boiling pot of water.

We don’t have control over our time.  We don’t have control over our lives.  A quick minute here and a quick minute there adds up to a lifetime.  And because we are beginning to live in a quick-paced, manic manner, our relationships become reflective of that.  We should ask ourselves, “How often do we have truly deep, meaningful conversations?”  It’s likely rare.  This is because we have made it so difficult for ourselves to pay attention to one thing or one person at a time.  Conversations don’t become deep because one or both conversation partners have a lifeline in their hands which gives them access to the entire world.  The lifeline-less conversation partner doesn’t stand a chance.

Another reason why technology has developed a new social fabric: conformity.  This isn’t anything new.  We have been conforming to society for years.  Some see it as a means for survival, and in some ways, it is, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.  I don’t need to go into the countless examples of how conformity has created a very flawed history.  In the present, however, we very rarely question our tendency to conform, especially when it comes to technology.

Earl Nightingale has an incredible quote about conformity.  He states, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice… it is conformity.”  We conform in our schools, our jobs, our families, with our friends, in our beliefs on religion and politics.  We conform in our behavior.  Conformity creates a domino effect and once we knock over that first domino, it’s very difficult to halt that train wreck.

It’s important not to blindly purchase that latest technological gadget because everyone else is doing it, though society will tell you different.  Many of us will say that it is now a requirement in our world to be connected to the Internet at all times or else you are falling behind and missing out.  But I want to encourage you to take the bull by the horns.   We must make our own decisions if we are to live our most fulfilling, happy lives.  We must act, not react, in our daily interactions.  We must be intentional with our we spend our days and how we use our time.  If we go on living our lives, dictated by technology’s endless distractions and by society’s conformity trap, we will look back in regret at not having been our best self.  That’s no way to live.

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