Friday, January 11, 2013

The Paradox of Being Alone Together


Photo by Gareth Williams

However, this rationale does not always ring true. New phones and gadgets only encourage greater speed and volume. People begin to think in ever bigger terms. Instead of communicating with a small circle of intimate friends, they now convince themselves that they have a vast network of contacts who have “friended” them and must be cultivated at a distance often by conveying a distorted image of oneself.

This creates the postmodern paradox that psychologist Sherry


Turkle calls being “alone together.” Far from uniting people, machines tend to separate them. She claims the result is a situation where people are “each in their own rooms, each on a networked computer or mobile device. We go online because we are busy but end up spending more time with technology and less with each other. We defend connectivity as a way to be close, even as we effectively hide from each other.” (Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, New York, Basic Books, 2011, p. 281).

by John Horvat


The strength of interpersonal relationships and one to one communication has been strained, especially over the last few decades.  During the early 1920's, we moved from our "front porches" indoors to listen to a new device, - radio. As a result, we removed ourselves from our "neighbors" in the community - away from community.

The introduction of television [ with multiple televisions in most bedrooms] during the latter half of the 20th Century, took us from a "family" to isolated individuals during any given day. With the advent of cellular devices, interpersonal dialogue, concerning topics of human value, become extinct. Purposeful discussion is very necessary to turn the tide to a more humane existence. I wish to see others from my front porch once again.

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