Thursday, March 18, 2010

Internet: A solipsistic life?

From "The Narcissus Society" (A NYT article from 23 Feb 2010)

“Community — a stable job, shared national experience, extended family, labor unions — has vanished or eroded. In its place have come a frenzied individualism, solipsistic screen-gazing, the disembodied pleasures of social networking and the à-la-carte life as defined by 600 TV channels and a gazillion blogs. Feelings of anxiety and inadequacy grow in the lonely chamber of self-absorption and projection.

These trends are common to all globalized modern democracies, ranging from those that prize individualism, like the United States, to those, like France, where social solidarity is a paramount value. Ehrenberg’s new book, “La Société du Malaise” (“The Malaise Society”) is full of insights into the impact of narcissistic neurosis.

Sometimes, it seems, we are as lonely as those little planes over the Atlantic in on-board video navigation maps.”

I’ve been reflecting on this article for some time now. From the date, it appears to be nearly a month. Mr. Cohen wrote the article in support of revamping the healthcare system. But his first section on the rampant individualism and isolation seems the most mind-wrenching part.


Blogging could be the epitome of this. I considered it when I started this thing. But I enjoy writing, so I decided this is part of my life education- keeping up my skills, sharing my experiences, whether or not anyone reads it. (It’s not like I'm forcing anyone to read this.)

Singledom is kind of narcissistic too. Only me to worry about- my problems, my life. I talk too much. Sometimes I wonder if I am too self-centered. It’s crossed my mind, lots. I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, but?

I could declare that I’m in a helping people profession, that I keep contacts around the globe, that I regularly reach out to family and friends. And I truly do not hole up at home in a narcissistic ball wondering what will happen to me next.

I guess we have to be careful, to continue to live in the real world most of the time, and use cyberland as an adjunct form of communication.

At that thought, it's time to leave my little screen. I really need to wash some clothes now.

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