The Authentic Life

I have a fear, a fear that my children, future generations will not experience what I have dubbed the ‘authentic life’. As technology takes leaps and bounds I feel each generation is one step further from this ‘authentic life’ based on human contact; face to face communication.

If you ask my generation to phone someone they will most likely recoil in horror. Why phone someone, actually speak to someone, when a text or an email will do a perfectly good job? When we need information my parents generation will reach for the phone book to make an enquiry. My first instinct – with others my age – is to reach for google. We live in an age of instantly available information which has seemingly minimized the need for face to face communication. Despite self-service checkouts being the universal bane of society many of us use then to avoid the communicative exchange of having someone else do it for us. Life seems to be easier, it is more expedient, if we don’t have to interact.

This worries me. Every passing moment, every day, week, year moves us further away from social interaction. Case in point: if I want to socialize I can text, whatsapp, email, facebook chat and a whole load of other mobile apps that facilitate communication. But do they really? My parents when they want to socialize will usually pick up the phone, my grandparents generation were more likely to meet up. With the hustle and bustle of our lives we can tick the socialization box by sending a text on the fly rather than making time to meet up or even talk on the phone.

I wonder if my children will love the theatre like i do. To my mind although sets are increasingly fantastic and technological as is the sound and lighting, the raw talent of the actors and actresses still shine through. What I see on the stage is pure art, simple unadulterated and untechnologically altered art. How many of my generation love the theatre? We’re far more the cinema generation and those born after us are the Netflix generation. I’m old enough to remember only having five TV channels, as young as that may make me seem. I remember having to ask parental permission to use dial-up to use the internet. Even then it was only in the evening when it was cheapest and when Mum didn’t need to make a phone call.

Will my children communicate in any other way besides via technology? Will they value a life full of ‘authentic’ experience. Whether talking face to face with the cashier, going to the theatre rather than a film, going to a concert – whether pop, punk, rock, symphony, classical, opera – than listening on iTunes or Spotify. Will they go out there in the world and meet people, real life living, breathing people rather than reading about them on wikipedia? I don’t have the answers to this question but you can be sure that until such time as my next fear for the future generation surfaces this shall be playing on my mind.

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