and atdt1991 here
and renniekins here
are linking to an article by John Wang of PointlessWasteOfTime.com titled "7 Reasons The 21st Century Is Making Us Miserable".
John Wang is insightful and hilarious, as many of his past essays have demonstrated. He is no less so here. However, I wonder how it is possible that, far from being a goth as that article predicted, I am almost the antithesis of goth. I don't get very lonely. I don't get depressed. I don't think everybody's out to get me. I feel that I have a heck of a lot more than two people to confide in. I know how to cooperate with people who are different from me, through gritted teeth if necessary, even if I don't like them and continue to not like them. I get confronted all the time, my sheltered subculture challenged all the time, my viewpoint and behavior criticized all the time. And that's important to me. It's been a value of mine ever since I left the hermetically sealed, cheering peanut gallery subculture of Fundamentalist Christianity. Most of all, it would be very, very
difficult for me to feel worthless or down on myself. I get out and do cool stuff for people.
So I guess I just deal with technology better than most, the way some people can hold their liquor better than others.
Reading that article, anyone would guess John Wang wants us to be bored, and try to have deep trusting relationships with people we don't like. Yeah; um... NO. I'll take the 21st Century and all it's tradeoffs, and try to fix them, thank you very much. Anybody who prefers polio and outhouses can help themselves.
All that having been said, it turned out that a couple of my closest relationships had problems that I didn't know about. And hey! Clue-by-four! It's an eye-opener, that's for sure. Some people are being made miserable by a bad interaction between them, the 21st Century, and me.
One thing that I've resolved to change recently in my electronic lifestyle, is never to do my daily regimen of flashcards on my handheld in front of people. I used to do that when they would start doing something else that didn't involve me, or when I got bored and was not being interacted with. That was stupid of me. I need to go in a bathroom or hide somewhere while I do it, or just skip my flashcards for that day. If they can see it, it makes them think that they bore me or that I don't want to spend time with them, or that I would rather not be there. Granted, sometimes all that stuff is true. In that case, not
working on flashcards would
result in me signaling all that stuff: I'd just complain, and ask that we go someplace else. When I have my handheld, it's difficult to inconvenience me, because one place is no worse than any other. Being with you means you can say "hey Matt!" and I'll put it down and say "hey what!" as if you just instant messaged me. But I have realized that's only true in my mind.