Our society has become antisocial. Social media has produced the opposite as what the name suggests. People have lost respect and are more solitary than ever. TV started it, and dumbphones perfected it. Even in Africa people used to sit together at night and chat, while today everyone watches any kind of shit at home - streets are empty. What difference 20 years can make...
I remember 1995 in Bamako. We had no TV, but the store at the corner had one. At 9pm the news were on, ORTM Mali channel....creek, creek, Image comes and goes, but who cares. The store owner placed wooden benches in front of the store, put the TV out, and 30 of us sat there to watch.
Then someone would prepare strong tea (the little glasses, Chinese tea, 3 rounds, the first for the men, the strongest, the second for the ladies and the third for the kids), and we kept chatting until dawn, quite often, we would dislocate to our house, put chairs out, a tape recorder, and off we went for another round of discussions.
Today, all that has changed. Everyone has a TV at home, old or new, a cheap satellite antenna, and watches telenovelas, video clips, soccer matches or old movies, and the kids all have cheap Chinese smartphones where they meet at places where the reception is good, sit there in groups and - chat, do FB or whatever.
Talking to each other ? Forget it.
Our oh so beneficial technological progress has put us back in a state where we're all united in isolation. As I said, even Africa, that last continent where REAL social life still exists (today only in villages, I guess, no network, you see), has been changed into a continent where everyone looks for himself and, more often than not, has no contact with the people in the opposite house (no flats there).
Is this progress, I ask ? We humans NEED direct social contact, if we want it or not. We're not a solitary species. When we don't have it, we suffer, and no antidepressiva will help.
When do we realize that, shred our dumbphones and TV's, get out again and say hello to a stranger ?