I’m a dinosaur when it comes to evolving away from paper books. Call me unsustainable, but I’m probably one of the last remaining book lovers — I mean actual, physical books. The older the better. I love the smell of old books that have been loved and read over and over. Sometimes I’ll even go to the library and just flip through an old plastic covered hard back and inhale the scent of nostalgia; the smell of history; the aroma of a time uncluttered by technology.
I’m also one of the last people on earth who doesn’t have an iPad. I tried the Nook thing, but you can’t flip through an electronic device. And, it’s really hard to curl up in the cranny of a couch with a cup of tea and a glowing notebook — just not the same. Not for me.
Don’t get me wrong, smart phones, social media and the like have revolutionized connectivity and convenience, but I think that as a society, we’re so connected we’re disconnected. Technology has been the easy way out in wishing friend’s a happy birthday, avoiding unpleasant conversations and avoiding emotional issues that should actually be dealt with rather than drown out with static.
I look at children as young as two up through young adults coming out of college and I’m both amazed at how technologically savvy they are and saddened at how disconnected with humanity they are. Not to sound like the old man in the rocking chair, but when I was a kid, we had family dinners and we had conversation. We connected without WiFi.
If I wanted to see a friend I went to see them. If I wanted to talk to them, I picked up the phone. I still do. We all need human connection and community. Today, this just isn’t the case, and it’s not just my subjective observations. In fact, according to a study out of the University of Michigan, the Millennial Generation, often referred to as ‘Generation Me’ are lacking in empathy. In fact, today’s college kids are 40% lower in empathy than their peers of 20 or 30 years ago, with the biggest drop occurring after the year 2000, and there’s a correlation between media and the isolation and desensitization of modern students.
What’s your empathy level? Find out how you compare with the average college student with the University of Michigan’s online empathy quiz.
I feel badly for the young adults who have no idea what it’s like to feel for another human being and for that feeling to be a cue to come to someone’s aid. I feel badly that they may never ‘connect’ with physical books or know what the smell of a library book can evoke.
What do you think?
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