Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Offline: Modern Version of Dead?

When communication was dumb, people assumed you were alive unless a man on a horse brought to them the news of your misfortune. With smart communication, people somehow assume you are dead unless you come online to tell them you are alive and well…

I look at my messenger of 140 contacts, 20 of them online and absolutely green. I count how many days I’ve been hiding in an offline mode. The realization makes me feel like a fugitive, chased by guilt for not talking to family, relatives, friends, distant friends &friends in the making. But what can a human do these days to keep up both: their own life and life with others?

People who are not good at “keeping in touch”, if in the past would lose a point for not visiting the neighbor, now would lose five. They could’ve (1) visited, (2) called, (3) sms’d, (4) emailed, or (5) chatted online with that neighbor! Moreover, the world population increased, so there’re more and more people to lose points to!

People claim that keeping in touch is about feeling. If you love your family, friends, etc, you would talk to them often, but in reality lots of steps separate the feeling from executing it.


There are times when I feel overwhelmed with all those doors/promises that I have opened and thus became obligated to attend to. I experience an equivalent of a panic attack, a tormenting yearning for taking refugee in a metal box, a tight one, in which I can lock out the entire world with single turn of the key. Instead of the accusatory stare given to me through modern communication devices, the isolated box would momentarily allow me the liberating feeling of talking to no one else but myself-a promise that often goes unnoticed!

10 comments:

Ahmed said...

Mom always complain that I've been spending more time in Riyadh don't call her more often, and I honestly never knew what to tell her. But you put it beautifully: People claim that keeping in touch is about feeling. If you love your family, friends, etc, you would talk to them often, but in reality lots of steps separate the feeling from executing it. Couldn't say it better myself.

Marahm said...

If I were to "keep in touch" to express the fact that I am still alive, I would need to make a profession out of it. Already, I spend so much time in front of this computer, doing email, blogging, personal writing, and internet surfing, that I neglect important tasks of everyday life, such as... well, you can imagine.

Then, there are the hours spent in front of the screen, watching TV and DVDs. Let's not forget the mobile, which is at my side 24 hours a day. No wonder I can't find the time to exercise! And I'm an introvert!

The best way to climb into that metal box of protective isolation is (at least for me) to attend a Progoff's Intensive Journal workshop. We sit in silence, writing longhand because the tapping of computer keys is considered distracting. We do not talk at all, except at lunch, and we do not listen to music. We open ourselves to ourselves and to the vastness of interior space. We bring our own depths to the surface of our consciousness, and at the end of the day, we are ready to resume that which we had placed in suspended animation at the beginning of the workshop.

Hning said...

*eyes watering, heart beats faster, breath becomes short*

So...does this mean that you love me a LOT?

*cries happily*

Murtadha Almtawaah said...

when someone lose the connection and the communication with him self, then all the possible communication with all others becomes worthless:))


btw, i really agree with Marahm in her comment

insomniac said...

Over the past 10 years or so, reachability has become a problem. Society says that you are reachable, and you must maintain this reachability, all because of the help if this thing we call technology.

I'm supposed to answer emails I get from my advisor, say at 9 pm. I have to call back home at least once a week. I must return phone calls, emails, "even voice mail doesn't cut it anymore". Baiscally, you're not in control anymore.

I remember growing up here, my parents used to call KSA once a month, my dad never received work calls after 5, and all I can say is, man, those were the days!

Aysha said...

Ahmed,
Glad to have you here! I think because Saudi is a family oriented society, whenever a family member moves out for reasons such as marriage or education-it is not easy for other family members to adapt. It is such a painful transition for everyone, packed with emotional pressures...

Aysha said...

Marahm,
I am so tempted by your description of Progoff's Intensive Journal workshop!
Hehe, if I was to be paid for staying in touch, I can assure you (ehhm,) that I will consider the offer :P

Aysha said...

Hning,
You are in SUCH high spirited, over the cloud, mood lately. Yeah, yeah, of course I love you. Just keep crying, it makes me feel like a pro :P

Aysha said...

Murtadha Almtawaah,
I second that! Most of our issues lately, I think, are being in a disconnect with ourselves...

Aysha said...

insomniac,
My EXACT thoughts! It seems that demands increase as communication develops, but time remains as a restrictive and unstretching factor.
I admire how well you word and present your argument/pov. Thanx for your input!