Monday, July 25, 2011

Digital vs. Real

One of my favorite places to be is a bookstore. I love the quiet, kind of eclectic atmosphere where lots of things besides books are sold. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in different ideas and worlds, and marvel at all the cool trinkets and books you find. 

Which is why I was so sad when I heard Borders is closing. For good. All we have left is Barnes & Noble and the little bookstores, which are also sparse. 

I blame digitalization. Part of our social lives (or, so called, anyway) are digital, from cameras, computers, to cell phones, you name it. And those things have their purposes and can be used for good, up to a point. But books – that’s where I draw the line. 

When it comes to reading, there’s nothing better than holding a book in your hand. You can pop it open, stick your nose between the pages and smell the muskiness. I have a reverence for holding another’s creation in my hands, since I know what kind of work and creativity it requires. There’s a certain level of reality that you are able grasp when you hold a book in your hands. It feels more relatable.

Which brings me to another point. While digitalization has its purposes, as I said before, it should be used in moderation, as with anything good. It’s terribly sad that kids as young as eight years old have cell phones and text people around the clock. And even adults consider people they’ve barely met on Facebook real “friends”. In reality, those people would barely be acquaintances.

Fact is, the more we become immersed in a virtual, digital world, the less we are based in reality. Back in the 50’s, people went next door and talked to their neighbors, face to face. People had real relationships with one another, and there was a sense of community. We’ve lost sight of that.

When you’re talking to someone through email, or even the phone, we only glimpse a small part of that person – we don't see their mannerisms, their emotions, etc. On the other hand, you build interpersonal skills when speaking in person, plus, you get the fuller picture of who the person is. 

So it’s good to use the digital technology we have. But we should seriously moderate it, so we develop “friends” based in reality and social skills gained through real life experience. It would help us take a step back to the time where people cared about one another, even if we didn’t know them well. 

Let’s be humans, not humanoids.

No comments: