Today I was on a bus and it was dead silent. A big ol' bus with dozens of students, and not one person talking. Everyone had their noses in their phones, many with headphones in.
Do we even realize how much time we devote to staring at screens? At screens! Staring at bright colors transmitted through illuminated glass, metal, and plastic. And plugging our ears with all manner of color-coated cushioned and hard plastic speakers. Do we even realize how we we worship these gadgets, never wanting to be bothered?
People don't talk to each other. They don't see each other. They don't hear each other. Sometimes they don't even notice that others are around. Granted you don't have to be on a bus to witness this. Just take a walk down the street and notice how people avoid or pretend not to see each other, and notice how quickly and seamlessly you slip into this mode too. And granted, technology is not solely to blame for this. But it sure hasn't helped.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent to me than when I'm on buses and the like. I have a deep fondness for public transportation, but the ride is always just a little saddening. On a big ol' bus. Sharing a ride with dozens of people. And none of these people see you or each other, much less have anything to say. I observe this and I wonder, in the supposed pursuit of improving people's lives via technology, is this what smart device makers had in mind? Are we supposed to be consumed with distractions and convenient means of escape? Are we supposed to be inanimate and mechanized just like the gadgets that seize our attention? Are we supposed to be robots?
What if we completely forget how to talk (as in open our physical mouths and actively voice words, intentionally communicate through speaking) to each other? What if, as we block out the world, the world goes silent?