The IT Revolution & Crises of Self-Importance

Source: Ed Poor at Wikipedia.en

Source: Ed Poor at Wikipedia.en

If you’re as old as I (no, I’m not Wilford Brimley old by any stretch), you remember the days when you couldn’t count on getting a hold of another person instantaneously. Incidentally, the phrase “get a hold of” is apropos. Think of other times one might use those words. If one were a practitioner of judō (i.e. a judōka), one might use that phrase when talking about seizing an opponent in anticipation of throwing them.

Herein lies an intriguing irony. The person calling is dominating the called. That is, they are writing a check on one’s time that they believe to be cashable whenever the hell they please. Therefore, one might expect the person receiving random calls at random times to suffer a diminution of self-esteem. They are, after all, at the beck-and-call of some localized bit of humanity. However, on the contrary, the perfection of the electronic-leash has spawned a growing field of narcissists.

The reasoning that drives this plague of narcissism is as follows, “I am so important that some–albeit tiny–part of the universe is at risk of collapse if I’m not ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. In other words, I am a localized superman[/superwoman.]”

The thing is, you’re really not. The deflating truth is that none of us is so important that any portion of the universe will collapse if we are unplugged from the hive for a few hours– try it.

Now, you may be saying, “Look, I have my phone on all the time, and I talk on it much of the day, but I’m not one of those loud people whose conversation lays waste  to the solitude of people around me everywhere I go.”

The thing is, you really are. Those annoying bastards that you “hurrumph” at when you’re not on the phone–that’s you when you are on it. You make a connection at a distance and, like all others, become oblivious to your immediate environment. At best you are a destroyer of solitude; at worst you are a danger to yourself and others.