Opinion

Culture of convenience keeping people apart

In an age in which Starbuck’s has drive-thru windows, roller blades have been affixed to sneakers, friends are “confirmed”, and washing machines have a website you can visit to check the status of your laundry, the quintessential career-driven individual has defined American culture.

We have been imbued with the sense that busyness is a virtue, and every hour of every day is critical. Perhaps these attributes have been fostered by a culture based on individualism, attaining the American Dream, and being a player in the fierce game of competition.

Cell phones, Blackberries, and Palm Pilots have become things that we remember to take with us when we walk out the door instead of the simple wallet and keys. True, these technologies have made it more convenient for us to have everything that we need right when we need it – a culture of convenience indeed. But what is the price we pay for such a culture? If everything involves a ‘give and take’ then what are we losing by such industrious design?

Take a look across campus and you will easily observe that the latest fad is the iPod, a device that can hold thousands of songs, pictures, news magazines and more. Whereas today the word “iPod” is still underlined in red on a word document, tomorrow it will become a part of everyday language and avoid the formidable spell check.

Sure, listening to music while walking to class is invigorating, but has it and the many other devices created for our convenience caused more harm than help? Instead of strolling across the green contemplating the day ahead, or waiting in line making small talk with a stranger, we now walk around with music blaring in our ears. As we replace a hand-written letter with an e-mail and a phone call with a text message, it sadly seems as if this trend towards greater and greater convenience is brewing a society that is losing amicability and trying so much to block out the sounds of life.

In a time where cultural sensitivity is of utmost importance and land masses have been united by globalization, social interaction is key in ensuring the world’s welfare. Instead of modernization, perhaps what we need is enculturation. Instead of contraptions that pull us away from human touch, perhaps what we need are contraptions that bring us back.

It is not about running late and grabbing taco bell. It is not about seeing if you have enough minutes to talk on the phone. It’s about striking a balance and eliminating the influence that iPods, cell phones and other gadgets have in reducing the need for connectivity.

Perhaps next time you walk out of your dormitory or leave a classroom and reach for your cell phone or iPod, you may instead choose to catch up with a friend or walk with a stranger, slowing down your pace and enjoying the little things that matter most in life.

Shelly Garg can be contacted at s.garg@umiami.edu.

September 16, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The attorneys for University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga expect indictments to be ...

Few could have imagined this scenario coming into Saturday’s University of Miami football game at ho ...

Alex Cora’s success hasn’t surprised Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris. Cora, according to ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: • Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has an interesting theor ...

Get ready for an avalanche of University of Miami defensive backs and linemen descending on the Hard ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

The Miami soccer team will conclude its 2017 home slate Sunday against Notre Dame and recognize its ...

The Miami soccer team registered a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh Thursday night at Cobb Stadium behind ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

Five members of the Miami women's tennis team will open play Friday at the ITA Southeast Region ...

Here are three matchups to watch Saturday as the Hurricanes take on the Syracuse Orange at Hard Rock ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.