Into the darkness : the erosion of empathy in the age of connectivity
“In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we neither seek nor want honesty or reality. Reality is complicated. Reality is boring. We are incapable or unwilling to handle its confusion,” (Hedges, 49). And so came the television, the computer, and the smartphone. Ours is a culture spurred on by spectacle, by entertainment, and it is something we’ve been taught to crave everyday. We have become addicted to distraction, to the need to be distracted. The screens we have created provide us with exactly that; amusement, spectacle, a realization that we never have to fear boredom again, and we never have to be alone. Screens offer us the opportunity to forever be an audience member because we always have something new to see. Television initially dictated the curriculum of our daily lives, as “a curriculum is a specially constructed information system whose purpose is to influence, teach, train or cultivate the mind and character of youth”, but the advent of the Internet has had a much more significant impact on that curriculum. The Internet allows us to have constant connectivity to every person we could possibly think of, but that connection is not real. We are conditioned to believe that we need our screens to feel connected at all times, however, all this really does is reaffirm the wish that people want to be connected to us. We want to be wanted, and often this need exemplifies the narcissistic qualities within us all. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is a story about a people who immerse themselves in their vanities, without guilt or remorse for the consequences of their actions. In Omelas, the people willfully imprison themselves within a life of constant distraction and luxury, sacrificing their independence and calling into question whether there’s is a society worth living in.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.