Friday, May 16, 2014

Untitled (2014)

How I Wish
How I Were You Were Here

We're Just Two Lost Souls Living in a Fish Bowl
Year After Year

Runnin' 'Round on the Same Old Ground
Or Have We Found The Same Old Fears

Wish You Were Here...

-- Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here" (1975)

At times I wonder whether wireless communications and social media have not made longing obsolete, and that the sentiment is now reversed -- that we now more than ever wish those with whom we interact to Not Be Here, at least the here where we are now.

Photo image: Setagaya City, Tokyo Metropolitan District on 15 May 2014.
Photo credit: MTC


Martin J Frid said...

The new "a-social" media, it is.

One of my favourite songs ever, btw.

Good to have you back, MTC.

David J. Littleboy said...

Hmm. People here have long commutes and need something to kill the time. Since they already have the cell phone, why not use it?

Also, the smartphone has largely replaced the PC and the tablet; it's where people read blogs and news and novels. So just because someone has their nose in their phone doesn't mean they aren't reading Soseki or Hesse or Shisaku or Miura Shion.

Back in '73 or so, when I first started using the Internet (ARPANET, actually), one of my friends was deaf. His comment on email: "It's the first time in my life I've felt part of a community." Texting can be just as real human communication as conversation is.

MTC said...

David J. Littleboy -

I do not disdain or am fearful of social media and Internet connectivity. I would scarcely exist without the latter.

I am concerned about connectivity's intrusion into every nook and cranny of our lives, giving us a false sense of being engaged in a disembodied community whilst being oblivious to the bodies around us. Since we should not and probably could not leave connectivity behind, we need to at least to cultivate a sense of when to put the phone/tablet down, lest intense focus cuts us off from citizenship.

Then there is the very dangerous false sense of power. Sharp economist and former Tokyo resident Noah Smith recently tweeted (and I realize the irony of my quoting a tweet in a message against constant connectivity) the following:

"I love all of you Twitter people. And I can say that with confidence because I've already blocked all the people I didn't love."

The screen is seductive: one really can act in the manner of the divine, editing out that which one finds unpleasant (that the author of a quote about extirpating those for whom one has no love should be named "Noah" is again ironic).

Michael Caldwell said...

I actually think it increases it... Whereas in the past you were more or less out of sight, out of mind once you were away from someone, now you are reminded of them and see what they're currently doing (without you) several times a day...