An interesting essay in The New York Times:
The article suggests that technology and more specifically multi-tasking is creating a lack of empathy in society. I’ve been pondering this as well, but had not made the connection to technology as the cause. However, it rings true. The essay outlines how the constantly available distractions of our devices keeps us from solitude. The lack of solitude leads to a lack of introspection. And finally when we don’t understand ourselves, we can’t understand others (i.e. a lack of empathy).
When I see the way people can write-off entire groups of fellow humans, I see this lack of empathy taken to its worst end. Is it possible that creating boundaries around our use of technology might open up the ability to work toward equality and justice for minorities? If the distractions of technology cause a lack of empathy, can an increase in unitasking (as opposed to multi-tasking) cause the opposite, an increase in empathy? Taking away the distractions would result in more time for deeper connections with ourselves and between each other. und It is much harder to denigrate a group when you can put yourself in their position.
The suggestions in the essay are the same as they’ve always been; create “distraction-free” times and places to encourage solitude and also communion with others. But the difference is the scope of the problem. Now that I realize the link to empathy, the solutions deserve another look.