DOUBTS ABOUT THE MEANING OF WORDS
I know it’s a big, big world out there but before the Internet, it didn’t seem that way. One had family and friends that were near but the outside world came across the threshold in the form of newspapers, literally waiting at our feet until we were ready to let them in. Over coffee, we’d peruse events at arm’s length, creating a breathing space between us and the rest of the planet. Today the shouts of human events reach us the moment we click on our electronic devices. In Wordsworth’s words, the world is too much with us.
Of course we could turn these electronic contraptions off; but we don’t, which suggests we believe there is more to be gained than lost by staying linked to the wide, wide world. Nonetheless, at least one aspect of the invasion is unsettling. I don’t speak of the loss of privacy or even the risk from hackers. No, the by-product of so much communication is that I begin to see patterns where once I imaged uniqueness. Humanity cavorts across the web in one long assembly line and in such numbers that individual messages are lost in the convergence of sameness: we laugh; we cry; we love; we die. The similarity may give us a sense of community at first, but when witnessed on a grand scale, the pattern provokes a troubling question. What is the sum of our lives?
I admit, these thoughts that assail me come at the end of a day spent exploring the blogs of other writers. So many people seem to be reaching out to others. Or am I deluding myself? Are we, each of us, merely enamored of the sound of our voices? Are we frogs croaking in a virtual world ? I see nothing wrong with celebrating our personal existence but shouldn’t there be more? Are any of us saying anything of merit? Perhaps we’re simply engaged in “sound and fury?” So many words… Has anyone been touched by them?
Some days there are roads better not taken… questions better not asked.