Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Diana, Noise, & the Lonely Society

Risk Control Technologies, Inc. wrote:
> Sorrento95@aol.com wrote:
> >
> > Some time within the recent past I read about a
> > survey which found that about 55% of Americans
> > say they don't trust their neighbors.  This had
> > grown from about 35% answering yes to the same
> > question asked in the 1960s.
> >
> > Everywhere, there are signs of the growing
> > tendency of humans in our society not to
> > relate well to one another at the face-to-face
> > level.  The noise pollution problem is in some
> > ways buried within this larger unfortunate
> > circumstance.   People are communicating
> > more with devices and less with other people.
> > TVs and loud stereos are among the devices.
> >
> > The pubs and drinking spots in my town are not
> > good places for finding intelligent and friendly
> > conversation.   The atmospheres are mostly
> > dominated by devices producing audio and
> > video stimulus.
> >
> > The sidewalks of my community used to be social
> > forums. In earlier times, I could take a walk and within
> > the span of 30 minutes be greeted by numerous friendly
> > people including strangers smiling and saying hello.
> >
> > Now I dodge roller-bladers creating wide swaths as
> > they weave back and forth.  Like the joggers, they
> > are often wearing stereo earphones.
> >
> > The wealthiest people in our society are isolating
> > themselves in gated communities requiring an
> > electronic card and code before one can even
> > enter the streets.
> >
> > The growing popularity of online services and yes --
> > even e-mail discussion lists -- also indicate the
> > degree to which device-to-human is replacing face-
> > to-face human communication.
> >
> > In an AOL new summary today (Sept 7), I found
> > this statement in a story about the profound
> > emotional experience the death of Diana has been
> > for Britons and many others:
> >
> >    ''My father died eight years ago,'' a taxi driver
> >     out picking up fares said quietly. ''And I didn't
> >     feel about that the way I feel now.''
> >
> > For the overwhelming majority of her mourners, Diana
> > was never anything but a media symbol -- an image
> > on a tabloid or video screen.   People who would not
> > attend the funeral of their next-door neighbor have
> > participated in a tremendous outpouring of grief for
> > someone with whom they never had a personal conver-
> > sation.
> >
> > What does this mean?  It means that we are evolving
> > toward a point where real personal contact with other
> > humans will account for a very small share of our
> > experience.   To compensate for this, people are
> > investing more of their emotional capital in celebrities
> > and even soap operas.
> >
> > Diana's estrangement from her own husband and in-laws
> > was a strong factor in driving her to seek a perverse form
> > of intimacy by becoming a high-profile media figure.  Now
> > many blame the media for her death.
> >
> > Hopefully, the lesson for all of us will be that the influence
> > of media and audio/video devices in our lives should be
> > reduced as we concentrate on re-establishing the practice
> > of personal conversation.
> >
> >    -- Michael Wright
> IMO, this is worth re-reading.  Thanks Michael for a well written and
> (again, IMO) sadly accurate analysis of our society.
> Bob S.
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To a certain degree, I agree with Michael.  But some of us have never
lost the practice of personal conversation.  I think that has something
to do with our age and how we were raised.  

I enjoy talking to people and will usually be the one to start
conversations.  Store clerks, people waiting in line at establishments,
fellow shoppers, doesn't matter.  I just talk away.  Nothing is better
than coming home from work (I really can talk to people there, no profs
or e-mail, I talk in person) and having a nice conversation with my
neighbors over the backyard fence.

Going back to college has made this even worse.  I talk to the kids all
the time and get them to talk rather than the old "I'll e-mail you".

As for media, I don't read the garbage magazines or newspapers and the
soaps are not for me. (there's more to life than that)

Michael is right though, somehow we have to bring people back out into
the world and get them talking to one another.  Television, radio, video
games all have done this in.  I guess I'm grateful that I was born at a
different time. 

Maybe we should start a "conversation day".  No radio, television,
video, nothing electronic (yes - even e-mail), just plain old
conversation between human beings.

Karen J.
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Soundscape Awareness, and the Right to Quiet.     Email: "quiet-list@igc.org"
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For info, send message "info quiet-list" to same.

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