In today’s age where the sense of entitlement is high, arrogance is widespread and ignorance everywhere almost everyone I know carries the latest electronic devices also known as a cell phone, tablet or mobile with them at all times. We all walk carelessly throughout the day propelled by the thought of our next meal, consuming, using just enough thought to navigate our next step. Periodically albeit subconsciously we pull the device out to take a glance hoping for the latest text message or Facebook post, which by nature are always pointless and self centered filled with arrogance as if to say ‘look what I’m doing and your not,’ this is the age of the passive Asshole. Which inspired me to write about my observations of this new phenomenon almost a sort of subculture lead by the young and trendy but spreading like a cancer with its tentacles wrapped around the last common decency left amongst our peers. Egos have skyrocketed, most have not noticed a change and most likely never will, after all most are legends in their own mind. This has been perpetuated by the easy on the go access into the lives of everyone else via social media creating a degeneration in common etiquette. It is not uncommon to strike up a conversation with someone only to have them immerse themselves mid sentence into their 4 inch screens blatantly ignoring reality and the topic at hand as if you had just disappeared. During this period they exhibit all the tell tale signs of a digitally enslaved passive asshole, neck in a kink looking down in a 90 degree angle, fingers moving rapidly across the screen all while periodically moaning a few thoughtless words like yea, ok or throwing in a fake laugh as if they are still actually following the conversation. The sad reality is this type of behavior is now commonly accepted amongst the masses as normal. Where did it all start? When was the turning point? Can we turn these trends around? Its tough to predict the future but one can examine the history and current trends and see the clear picture. I was there at the start of it and have witnessed this new culture evolve year after year, slowly spreading into the lives of almost everyone. Only few have resisted. Most have willingly joined the flock.
I’ll focus entirely on the symptoms on display in modern society in this piece. We find ourselves at a turning point as we plunge into the digital age of restricted bandwidth metered by only a handful of Télécom giants. We have witnessed a takeover before our eyes, we have even funded much of the operation, while contributing to our own moral decay. Human interaction and communication barely exist, neighbors avoid one another, people would rather keep to themselves to live care free in a digital fantasy world free to construct their ideal reality. This is reinforced by the egotistical side effect of a rotting morality. It’s not uncommon to sit in for a meal at a standard restaurant and see entire families hypnotized by their bright screens not saying a word to one another, silently starring. I see mothers staging their reluctant children in poses trying to catch a surreal picture to upload instantaneously as a show piece to further help construct their fake narrative they have created online all while subconsciously trying to one up their followers. My favorite example a new form of nervous tick is when people are confronted with a situation that requires them to wait whether it be in a line waiting to purchase or waiting to enter a concert or even when stuck in traffic the cell phone is pulled out for a brief moment for a quick glance then put away and this is often repeated several times with no purpose, whether it’s a way to not have to engage in conversation or interact with strangers people are slowly becoming more reclusive. This is now recognized as a new form of language subconsciously sending the message that you don’t want to be bothered after all your to busy doing nothing. In any situation when one feels others watching and becomes nervous phone peeping is used almost as a way to fit in. This behavior has taken precedent over reality and human interaction.
I’m not entirely sure when it started but I do know life was different before these devices were introduced. Neighbors spoke and people had conversations with strangers, word of mouth was king. Over a short period voice calls have been replaced with mere text, emotions are non existent and it’s only accelerating. It has created a new form of species dependent on their own creations, muddling through life like spineless jellyfish purposefully avoiding one another. As we plunge further into the mass hypnosis I predict lines will be drawn, some will reverse course but I fear for most there is no hope the signs and symptoms are everywhere. In the age of information ignorance is a choice which side will you choose?