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The zombie apocalypse


July 17, 2013
"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." — Aldous Huxley

I have not experienced growth, not really. Life constantly changes around me, and, in truth, I have only seen a fraction of what has been, and what is to come.

Sixty years ago, "I Love Lucy" made its premiere on CBS, McCarthyism was taking hold and Walt Disney opened Disney Land. All around us are people who were a part of that time, but now they have been thrust into my generation.

They have seen so much technological advancement over time, items that my generation uses every day — cellphones, laptops, iPods, color TVs, etc. — but now technology has quickened its pace, producing new, more advanced computers, iPods, cellphones, etc. all the time. Sure, I remember non-wireless phones, pagers, putting tapes into my recorder, but my younger sister doesn't. Our future generations will experience change just as we have, but, right now, this is the time when we are breaking past the barriers of communication, of accessibility, of speed. We are sculpting technology to fit our specific needs at a rapid pace for this Information Age.

This rapid technological advancement we find ourselves facing is not a bad thing. It opens new doors, providing educational opportunities and advances in medical technology. So, from our minds to our bodies, technology is there to be a positive force, changing lives for good.

That being said, I am pretty sure that an iPod won't save my life. Every day I see teens, even adults, walking through a store with their nose stuck in a cellphone, texting away, ignoring their surroundings. Even at restaurants, where families and friends gather together to join in conversation and indulge in delicious confections, I see men and women alike reaching for their cellphones every couple of minutes to check a text or to browse Facebook.

We all joke about a zombie apocalypse, but I am pretty sure that is what we are facing right now. We all, myself included, lose ourselves in our phones, looking at social networking sites, "talking" to our friends and playing Angry Birds. Meanwhile, time has not stopped; life is in constant motion while we choose to freeze ourselves in our own minds, captured by a screen.

Nothing makes me more sick than to go out with friends and feel like the time they are spending with me is less important than the text conversation they are having with someone else. Do we have nothing better to do? Are we so controlled by this technology that we create an addiction for ourselves? Every day I have a text conversation on my phone, and do you know what I have realized? That if I had simply called that person, we would have shared more information in the same amount of time and would have had a more personal conversation.

People begin to panic when they don't get a response to a text in less than an hour because we automatically assume that the other person will have their cellphone on them. Texting makes multitasking easier, and, therefore, it seems almost more practical to send a text than to call. That very well may be true, but showing emotion through text is difficult. Rather than being expressive with our words, we choose to throw in an emoticon, because spending the time writing on that small of a keyboard to express ourselves is too difficult and time consuming.

People, especially my generation, choose forms of communication that are less personal, taking away the advantage of developing the social skills that are essential. The fact is, no matter how much I text someone, I really don't know anything about them because our conversation is so very impersonal and simple. Through text, Facebook and other social networking sites, we create false images for ourselves and others, because, in real life, we can't.

My fear is that my generation and future generations will lose themselves in technology. What 16-year-old wants to work when they could spend their time posting pictures of his or herself on Instagram, right? Of course, it isn't rude to text when someone is talking to you, right? Of course, it makes sense for your boyfriend to get mad if it takes you more than five minutes to reply, right? I fear that we are allowing ourselves to become lost in our own heads, making beautiful creatures into horrible zombies that no longer appreciate the world around them but rather are preoccupied by a world that exists in the palm of their hands.

Technology is a magnificent thing, created to help better our world, but making everyday life easier isn't necessarily better. So much knowledge and opportunity lies at our fingertips, but seldom do we use it for good or in an appropriate manner. We would rather be content with becoming impersonal, couch-ridden, glutinous human beings who always seem to want more.

A letter I can keep until the day I die, compared to a text that will disappear once my inbox reaches 200. For me, there will never be a comparison.

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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