In my book, Human Sunset, I use a lot of screenshots that pertain to loneliness and the deterioration of relationships. I think it’s really important to unpack this – and truly, there is a lot going on as far as this particular aspect of tech goes. You can find Part 1 of this series, dealing with friendships in the face of tech, here.
Tech has had a huge impact on the traditional family. Even mainstream thinking has come around to decry the “over-use” of TV, video games, and smart phones in the home and in other settings where undistracted attention, given and received by the members of a family, would have been the norm just a generation of two ago. True enough, these days, you go to your child’s sporting event or take your kids to the park and you look around and see most of the parents on their phones, only intermittently glancing up to see what their kids are doing. Or you take your family out to eat and see many people, once again, glued to their phones. My line of business takes me into a lot of peoples’ homes and many times I have seen families where everybody is zoned out in their own pixelized universe – some individuals even engaged by two devices at once!
While this type of behavior does have a shameful character – even, as I said, eliciting mainstream criticism here and there – it is really nothing compared to the underlying destructive forces at work here. For, it ought to be asked: how we get to a point where we value family and even our own lives so little as to throw away the unique opportunity to experience life together? How did that happen? Because, that’s a big deal…
Starting with the present smart-phone addiction we could work our way backwards and say that TV paved the way. As far back as the 1950s and 60s you had social critics decrying the destructive nature of TV. Of course, they were right about TV being destructive, but the degradation of the family didn’t start with TV. It started with feminism. Feminism, in turn, is an unavoidable result of industrialization. Most people – even critics of feminism – don’t think of feminism as a result of industrialization, assuming instead that it is a political movement or that it is an idea. Oh, but they are completely mistaken…
Once technology reaches the stage where life becomes easy and safe; households have washing machines, dishwashers, leisure time, and women have birth control pills, feminism is there. I suspect most people are so trained to not understand feminism in such a way so I will try this in other words:
Most critics have come to realize that feminism is, first and foremost, a result of men being physically, mentally, and spiritually weak. Here’s the rub: technology, particularly industrial-age technology has absolutely no purpose other than promoting the survival of weak men.
Let that sink in.
Technology is the great biological playing-field leveler. If you think you can have tech and yet somehow not have feminism, you are living in thick delusion. Thanks to industrial-age machinery, women are indeed men’s equals in terms of providing for physical safety and well-being, be it in the workfield or in the battlefield. From this single fact a whole stream of unavoidable consequences flows.
Of course, a small clarification is in order regarding the term “feminism” – as the brand name has suffered a bit due to particularly gross and obnoxious representatives in the last few years (while the basic tenets have continued to enjoy growing popularity). There are many women who might not style themselves as “feminists” but nonetheless do hold dear all that is essential about feminism. We might as well call them non-feminists-in-name-only. This phenomenon has provoked the ire of many an obnoxious broad; how dare these “strong, independent woman” not give props to the womyns in the trenches?
I find this to be a fine case in point that feminism is essentially an issue arising from technology and only appears, to the careless observer, to be a political matter. It is technology that has empowered the modern woman who, by and large, doesn’t care about political feminism and even disassociates from it!
So, sure, we could talk about how unfortunate it is that families are disconnected and vegging out in from of screens, but it’s not anywhere near the root of the problem.
What is the primary driver in the high divorce rates that undermine the institution of family? Tech, by enabling women to obtain a degree of economic independence undreamt of until the last 5 minutes of human life. What is the primary driver in the pussification of men? Tech, by rendering masculinity superfluous, which in turn, inspires woman to put on the pants.
Then you have another especially destructive technology: the birth-control pill.
What’s left of the carcass of family is finally pecked away at by the vultures of digital crack.
The Brave New World, as Huxley foresaw it, is a world without mothers and without fathers. He was right.
If you really want to return to better days, when men were men, women were women, and family was sacred, start building the ark that will secure you and your loved ones and get ready for the Non-Electric Life.