A Society of Disconnect

25 Mar

The following news headline popped up on my twitter feed yesterday morning:

Families informed of missing jet’s fate via text message


This is a joke, right? Did someone get the news wrong? Sadly, no. These poor families have been desperately searching for answers, clinging to everything they had for two weeks. They have been thrown into the media’s spotlight (but let’s be honest, that isn’t a first) and forced to deal with their desperation and grief publicly instead of in their private homes. These people have been through hell, so you would assume that the authorities would at least have the decency to inform them of their conclusion with dignity, instead of through a MASS TEXT MESSAGE.

It’s just wrong.

I believe Mackey Frayer put it quite well. “To have the final confirmation after two-plus weeks of waiting, of holding vigils, of believing that there was a shred of hope that there were going to be survivors found, to get the news by text message perhaps underscored and punctuated the blow.”

This tragedy, though on a much larger scale, reminded me of what happened to a dear friend of mine in college. On the last day of finals, she waited for her parents to pick her up for summer vacation. While waiting, she goes on facebook to find a disturbing post on her wall about how her parents will be dearly missed. It wasn’t for another hour that she learned her parents had both been killed in a car crash on their way to our school. Facebook. She found out on FACEBOOK before any police officer had informed her or her family.

Incidents like these show just how screwy and disengaged our society has become over the years. Our reliance on technology can be an incredible and positive thing! And yet, whenever it begins to change how we deal with real people, it can also be dangerous, not to mention frightening. Hundreds of studies and articles have shown that the more connected we become with our technology, the more disconnected we become to our real lives. Stripping away personal contact with others, particularly during a time that they need it most, is wrong. I’m worried that once we begin to see people as a part of a “message” or as someone on a screen, rather than as another human being, we start to lose everything. I don’t mean to sound fanatical, but is it unreasonable to think we’re on a dark and scary path?

I know it must sound like I’m getting sidetracked. I’m not trying to use the Malaysian airline disaster as a soapbox to exploit the problems I see in modern society. And let’s be honest, there has to be much more to this particular tragedy than we can realize right now. I’m just saying, this is one example, of many, that shows how people, companies, and governments are starting to take away the personal contact that each human being deserves. And I’m terrified of what will happen if that doesn’t change.



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