I watched this amazing video this morning and I suggest anyone who has 3 minutes to spare give it a peek: [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/70534716 w=500&h=281]
It's fittingly titled, "The Innovation of Loneliness" -- a three minute speech by the talened Shimi Cohen who designed the graphics of the video as well as narration.
Loneliness has been a topic I've always been interested in exploring. Partially because I think it's part of the human condition. The video beautifully illustrates how our current generation adheres so strongly to the belief that the more connected we are, the more happy we will be -- and ultimately, the less lonely. The facts denote that a human being usually maintains a social circle up to 150 people. It's almost impossible to maintain deep ties with any number more than that for the average person. When I think about that number I'm actually pretty shocked -- 150 people is a LOT. In fact, with a stat like that it's almost humorous that we see so many people suffering from loneliness with a supposed social circle that high in number.
The reason? Quantity over quality. We're so busy chasing after this fantasy of a million likes, tags, comments, friend requests, and connections that our entire purpose becomes finding an identity within this world of "tech affirmation" which I like to call it. I won't even call out just the younger teens for doing this because it's seriously an issue even among young adults. We're yearning to create this identity for ourselves based on the affirmation we get over the web. Daily it's a scramble to check Instagram to make sure our "selfie" got 50+ likes or that our status update is being approved by the rest of our social network. If not, we're quick to feel self conscious, inferior -- so much so that some even go to the extreme of deleting something because of fear of rejection (guilty as charged). It's honestly sickening if you really stop and think about it.
The video goes on to explain this tech hub we're living in and how much the need for MORE friends/fans/ likes has actually done the opposite of what we hoped for -- it's led to more loneliness. Why? Lets face it, online we've created a medium where conversation can be edited, dumbed down, and presented just the way we want it. It's almost become difficult for some to carry on a conversation in person now. Lets face it, how many times have you hung out with friends recently and everyone's on their phone? Or attempting to take the perfect photo for Instagram so much so that it takes away from the actual experience of hanging out.
Enough of my soap box, but this video really stuck out to me and shed light on such an interesting paradox. We're so after defeating loneliness -- to the point that our social networks have super-sized. Yet, it's all an illusion of the even more magnified loneliness that's lingering. When all the "likes" and "notifications" stop coming and we're left alone at home in a moment of silence, do we then feel satisfied? Or even more empty than before? Are we comfortable and at peace being with just ourselves. Is that enough or is the craving for more and more what's driving you?
The last line of the video put it best. And which is what sparked a desire in me to even write this blog post: " If we are not able to be alone, we're only going to know how to be lonely." Let that sink in.