Virtual world dilutes the human experience
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 15:01
His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said, "Human beings are social creatures and concern for each other is the very basis of our life together." Social interaction within a network or a group, since the time of the nomads, merchants and settlers, has been at the center of progressive human culture. Socialization is defined as the process by which people learn characteristics of their group's norms, values, attitudes and behaviors.
With the emergence of the Internet, a more efficient way to connect with other people is via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. It is a way for people to assemble all in one virtual space and connect and exchange knowledge, without ever meeting up with them. The urge to want to involve a network of individuals in the immediate moments in which we live creates a personal stage for everyone to display themselves, a page where one person is the most important. This social forum is the space we've created to achieve a sense of time as it projects our everyday lives, documenting and exchanging information as it relates to our values and perspectives.
However, this virtual space has diluted the human experience, creating a time in the technological evolution in which the way to get to know someone is an through an online page. As digital natives, we are accustomed to interacting with cyberspace as a tool for communication. Now, with the use of identity profiles, we have become more comfortable in a virtual setting than in the world independent from the Internet, creating individuals who are immigrants into the real world. Through a blog, tweet or status, our ideologies are expressed to everyone as commodities of our emotions. Do we create our Facebook pages or do they create us?
Through the use of social networks we begin to mold the way in which others perceive us and how we want to be perceived. We form deconstructed representations of ourselves that fulfill our immediate curiosities and leave an incomplete image of ourselves and the people we know. Present actions are free to be experienced forever, removing any necessity for cognitive memories, placing it in a database and giving others the opportunity to experience the life of someone else without having been there. This kind of second-hand experience of the world is limiting our social interactions, taking face time and replacing it with Facebook time.
Instead of embracing the experience of human interaction, we are missing parts of basic conversations like body language, voice inflections, facial expressions and physical contact. This extensive Net works to connect us to the virtual world and disconnect us from reality, distorting the world and reducing it to a status. These mini-news headlines are the fastest way to receive and pass on information giving way to a society of instantly gratified individuals who are over stimulated by free information without any time to absorb and reflect upon it.
It seems as though technology has evolved so quickly with the advent of the Internet and the information age, that now we are playing a game of catch-up in order to re-establish a cultural identity separate from that which the Internet has created for us.