In an age of high-speed internet, 4G phones, ipad’s and assorted other technical gadgets designed to connect us quickly, efficiently and intelligently with the world at large, it might be assumed that such a thing has given the user a better voice with which to communicate their thoughts, feelings and intents.
But is that really what’s happening? Are individuals in fact developing a better voice, or simply retreating further into an introverted facsimile of what it truly means to be human?
From the moment mankind took its first breath, we’ve been looking for better ways to communicate with the environment in which we find ourselves. At first it’s believed our language base consisted of verbal grunts punctuated by outbursts of physical demonstration. Later we enlarged our repertoire to include more complex words and sentence structures, which in turn led to entire civilizations developing around our speech and the way in which we interpret the world we lived in.
Be it the spoken word or written prose, a raised eyebrow or secret sigh, the power of the human voice has grown in both its ability to express its self as well as shape the world around it.
Yet the journey to get to where we are today has not been without a cost. Whether it was the loss of simplicity to gain a more complex form of expression, or the forfeiture of life to obtain the right to that expression, there has always been – and will always be – a price.
Until fifty years ago a large percentage of the human race still knew what it meant to look someone in the eye, express an opinion or demonstrate their passion. It wasn’t unusual for people to reach out and touch a shoulder, hug a child or sit in the back yard under the shade of a tree, while friends or lovers shared a book, spoke in whispers or stole a kiss. Weekends were about investing in relationships, relaxing with the family and reconnecting with the dreams that defined who we were.
Yet now we request to be friends with people we’ve never met, share our passions with those we’ve never seen and proclaim to love someone we can’t find more than fifteen minutes of blog or tweet time to send with. We voyeuristically follow the lives of people we admire but are too afraid to become, and all too often sit behind the anonymity of our tablets, lap tops and iPhones, trying to convince ourselves that what we’re typing, texting and sending is our way of connecting and having a voice.
So in this fast paced age of social media connections and 4G relationships, have we really gained a voice or simply stepped further behind the veil obscurity? Have our cyber relationships really given us a larger circle of friends or simply robbed us of an opportunity to touch, taste and smell – the primal part of who we are and what truly makes us human?