Isolation. There’s the rub. It’s eroding. Eating away, happily munching on our friendships, communication skills, perceptions, our sense of the aesthetic. People passing a hallucinogenic sunset with their faces fixed downward, focused not on the magnificent flamingo tinged orb in the sky. But rather on a tiny device in their hands.
It’s jaw dropping to witness.
“See not the beauty all around you, the beauty is in the pixels.”I’m not sure who said that. It was either Steve Jobs, or me.
Get with the program. The beauty is in the pixels. Fuck the sunset, gimme a vomiting emoji.
Oblivious to their physical surroundings these cell phone-hunchbacks are members of The Grand Obliviate (pronounced Oh-bliv-vee-ah-tay). The practice of self-imposed isolation. Like The Who’s Tommy – deaf, dumb, and blind. “Tommy can you hear me?” And like Tommy, The Obliviate play a mean (video) pinball. Alone.
80% of those who get run over are members of The Obliviate. (That’s not a real statistic, but it sounds true.)
The Obliviate credo: They see you not. They’re not here. They’re somewhere else. They think they’re in two places at once. They’re actually nowhere at all. And you and I? We’re invisible.
The Obliviate do not see us. They talk at us, not with us. A conversation is you listening, just listening, to them blathering. You’re ‘see through,’ as if made of Saran Wrap.
Oblivious in their cars. Windows cranked up. Music on. Heated seats. Air conditioning. Climate control. Some cars take The Obliviate to a new level of isolation and obliviousness. Look, Ma! No hands! The car drives itself. The Obliviate can sleep on their way to work – in their car! Too bad that car doesn’t do the laundry too, but a washer/dryer in the trunk is an expensive option. And it cuts down on gas mileage.
The automobile isolates the driver from communicating with others on the road. Other than honking its horn and flipping off whoever is in the way.
There are so many examples of Grand Obliviate bad driving behaviors that they’re impossible to chronicle. Cars isolate people from one another. No nod, no hello, nor “Good morning,” no “How’re ya doin’?” No nothing.
We come in contact with lots of people every day and no one knows anyone else. Nor do they want to know. Who’s that guy in line behind them at the market? Who cares? Some guy.
We expect isolation. We crave isolation. Smoking pot, which used to be a communal event, is now done in private, alone. iPods, iPads and iPhones do not bring us together, they keep us separated – and Apple’s soon to be unveiled iYiYi phone promises to separate us even more.
Be oblivious. Join The Grand Obliviate. They know not where they are.
It takes practice. Ignoring all except yourself but, once achieved and true selfishness abounds, I’m told it’s bliss. So, cross a busy street against the traffic light. Pass gas in a crowded elevator. Take a call at a graveside funeral service. It might be Long Distance…from the Other Side.
Go ahead and be oblivious. But since you’ll have no self-awareness, you should see this video. It shows you what you’ll look like.
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Our Obsession With Ourselves by Richard Basis
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