Sitting on a bus we daily observe nearly 2/3rds of the passengers either on their cell phones, IPADS, or plugged into their IPODS and/or playing mindless repetitive games involving killing, speed-racing, or attacking smiley faces. There is hardly any eye contact with other passengers or even the remotest awareness of their surroundings. We are in awe of their ability to know when their stop has been reached.
This culture of dis-association/lack of connection is not restricted to transportation. If you walk down any city block you will find (if you are not plugged in)that the bus experience is duplicated daily as a pedestrian experience. No one seems to be in their bodies hence they do not notice other bodies. These robots expect the non-robots to make way for them. If you don’t you might encounter an enraged, what are you doing in my space?!
A robotic self is an unthinking consuming self. A self that conforms to the authoritarian consumer mandate to buy the latest fad, fashion and widget. We live in a world of apps and absence. We are disappearing as flesh and blood people who have the capacity to relate others and our environment.
Our corporate culture thrives on the robotic self. In fact, our democracy is now defined by our ability to have infinite choices when shopping. Civic responsibility is now all about purchasing power.
We do not think that the founding fathers conceived of our representational democracy as a department store. Unfortunately, since our schools no longer see fit to teach civics or the Constitution much less the Bill of Rights but rather to focus on what’s PC for the moment our children no longer have a clue as what living in a democratic society is all about.
Good citizenship today involves the culture of consumerism. We are trained to be patriotic robots. The more you buy, the more you are told that you are actively supporting the American way of life.
Don’t get us wrong, we like to shop. We don’t like to be told that we must shop in order to preserve our American way of life. When did going to the mall become the epitome of good citizenship?