Sherry Turkle Says Technology Is Making Us Lonelier Because We Spend Less Time Alone, Or Something

from the say-what-now? dept

A decade ago psychologist Sherry Turkle was at the forefront of encouraging children to go online so they could better learn to communicate with others. Yet, somewhere over the past decade, she's shifted almost entirely, and joined the "get off my lawn" generation. Her latest is a screed in the NY Times about how all of this social networking makes us all lonely because kids can no longer talk to humans face to face any more. At least that's what I think she's saying. Perhaps it would make more sense if she explained it face to face, because the arguments in the article don't fully make sense. It talks about how the kids these days in the workplace put on headphones and work instead of talking to each other. Some might call that being focused on work rather than chit chat. And, chances are many of them are still talking to each other via instant messaging, which is often more efficient anyway.

Of course, to Turkle, that kind of communicating doesn't count. It's not clear why -- other than it's "different." And therefore it's bad. The argument isn't particularly convincing... and it gets worse at the end. It turns out that actually communicating with people makes us more lonely. We'd apparently all be less lonely if we spent more time alone:
So, in order to feel more, and to feel more like ourselves, we connect. But in our rush to connect, we flee from solitude, our ability to be separate and gather ourselves. Lacking the capacity for solitude, we turn to other people but don’t experience them as they are. It is as though we use them, need them as spare parts to support our increasingly fragile selves.

We think constant connection will make us feel less lonely. The opposite is true. If we are unable to be alone, we are far more likely to be lonely. If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they will know only how to be lonely.
Got it? Apparently, communicating with others makes you lonely. Being actually alone makes you less lonely. Why? Because Sherry Turkle says so. Not sure that's particularly convincing.

Filed Under: psychology, sherry turkle, technology

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact is for me that Guy Debor looks like a crackpot.

    He is all wrong starting from the assumption that trying to live by appearances is not a real experience, it is just as real as any experience you will ever have, you will fall into all the pitfalls of "real life" in there too, the basics don't change, he was wrong then and it is wrong today.

    One great example is the movie Idiocracy (2006).

    The movie is full of assumptions about the future and how the dumb spread faster than the smart people, but if people were smart wouldn't they realize it is was more important to procreate than to care about economic conditions? wouldn't they have realized that with actual knowledge you have a better safety net that allows you to produce the things you need on your own and that economy is just a dreampipe?

    Of course not, it is entertainment, it is as dumb and retarded as the object of the criticism and so is Debor, he fails spectacularly to understand the basics and try to show something that is not there, reality is whatever you make off of it, at some point people are unable to live by appearances or spectacles and they fall into real situations, what he seems to be objecting to really is because he is unable to clearly see what others are doing and can't experience what others experience he somehow lost something, he is poorer because of it, but it is not others, is only himself and his inability to see past the "spectacle" that hampers his interactions.

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