The anti-social network: outsourcing romance
A recently divorced female friend asked me a seemingly simple question… “How is the dating scene in Atlanta?” I responded, “It’s really easy to meet people but very difficult to weed out the losers and get to know someone of quality and value on a deeper level.” The club/party scene in Atlanta (and I’m told across the country) is basically an elaborate game of Spy vs Spy. People pull up to the valet in cars that they can’t afford, wearing clothes that they plan to return and boasting jobs/businesses that aren’t as impressive as they are being portrayed to be. She then asked me about speed dating, happy hours, and online dating sites. Which prompted me to think… Have we become to “busy” to be social?
I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago called If you ask me, I’m ready. That post focused on an individual’s responsibility for his/her own loneliness. This post will focus on external barriers to life’s most important goal. A strong, positive, long lasting companionship with another human being.
A few weeks ago I was watching a random documentary about an exiled Black Panther, who has been in Tanzania for the last 30 or so years. In this film, there is a scene where two teenagers from his old neighborhood came to Tanzania on a sponsored trip. The graying Black Panther endearingly asked the boys about a park in Chicago, where all the young people used to hang out, socialize, have picnics and free concerts. They boys looked like at him as if he was speaking a strange foreign language. They replied, “Nah, people don’t do that anymore.” The Black Panther’s fond memories of home were destroyed and a look of sadness and disappoint were clearly visible on his face.
What has changed?
Increasing racial and gender equality has caused us to fully embrace and be embraced into a capitalistic technologically savvy culture. We have become addicted to the instant gratification of all of our wants, needs, and desires. We want every thing as quickly as possible and with the least amount of effort. We have been subjugated by success measurable only by material possessions, which has left our search for a life-long mate secondary to financial accomplishments.
Therefore, it makes sense to us that dating and socializing can be organized, itemized and put into cute readily accessible packages in the same way that everything else in our life. We have traded memorable chance encounters with calculated Facebook stalking. While simultaneously replacing love letters and hours long conversation over soft music and muted light with text messages and a quantifiable list of likes and dislikes. Our robotic world seems to be robbing us of our humanity.
How do we fix it?
I suggest looking to the past to help save our future. We need to re-create the situations that once fostered love and romance in the past, while ceasing the events and attitudes causing separation and elitism in the present. We need to stop viewing each other as a goal and/or means to an end and begin socializing for the joy of being social. A simple face-to-face conversation without intention could be rewarding in ways we cannot imagine
What do you think? When’s the last time you had a conversation with someone without wanting something from him/her or him/her not wanting anything from you? Do you think the days of have free concerts or peace rallies in the park are long gone?