February 14, 2019

Trapped In A Virtual World

Oliver Sacks, British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author, feared for the future before he died. 

He wasn't so much alarmed at what had come into being. Rather, he was shocked by how much was missing.

“Everything is public now, potentially: one’s thoughts, one’s photos, one’s movements, one’s purchases. 
There is no privacy and apparently little desire for it in a world devoted to non-stop use of social media.  
Every minute, every second, has to be spent with one’s device clutched in one’s hand. Those trapped in this virtual world are never alone, never able to concentrate and appreciate in their own way, silently.  
They have given up, to a great extent, the amenities and achievements of civilization: solitude and leisure, the sanction to be oneself, truly absorbed, whether in contemplating a work of art, a scientific theory, a sunset, or the face of one’s beloved.”
Oliver Sacks died in 2015. Before he passed he wrote, 

"I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself.

Sacks wouldn't have advised looking for such answers, such peace, in a mobile screen. 

We are trapped in a virtual world. I have doubts about it providing us with a "good and worthwhile life". 

1 comment:

  1. What stood out to me in Oliver Sacks quote is "apparently no desire for it [privacy]." They have made society apathetic, so now they can do whatever they want because no one cares. Most of us know they are too big to go against, so the desire to rise up has vanished. We know we can't win. Most of us retreat into finding our way in our small place on the planet.

    I was hiking in the woods recently. I looked around and wondered if there were any cameras in the trees filming my every step. That is a awful feeling.

    Lately, I've been more aware of the probability that every single place I go, I am being filmed. There's a book, probably many now about how much we are being surveilled. (aka under surveillance)

    There are common apps that people have on their phones that track their location at all times. They can track how long you are at an address, what store you walked into and how long you stayed there. They track what you stop and look at inside a store. So that when you return home, you see adds on your computer from the very items you looked at in the store. There is no other record of where you were and what you looked at. They know everything about us. It terrifies me.


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