Seen the film Her over the weekend and it got me thinking.
(Image from IMDB)
Have we evoked to a status that we can’t handle human relationship and we don’t need human touch any more?
Theodore (I love this name. When I have a son, his name will be Theo) is a lonely writer that’s sensitive and compassionate for the people he write for. However, due to his lack of communication and emotional withdrawal, his wife left him. Being in a world lacking human interaction, except the random greetings from a colleague and his college friend, Amy and her self-serving husband, Charles. His world was empty except the regret, shallow and angry from his previous marriage that he still clang onto. His need for companion was filled with online chatroom sex. His world was brightened up when he bought a new personalized OS, Samantha.
Samantha is smart and she learnt fast; she learnt a lot of about Theodore, learnt to be funny and to top it up, she learnt how to make him laugh and fall in love with her. She was his companion, his confidence, his resort. Samantha learnt through their interaction. Theo finally moved on from the ex-wife through the love and help from Samantha. Even though Catherine, the ex wife’s disapproval of Theo falling in love with an OS did weight on Theo, he finally came to his mind to Samantha. The funny bit was how awkward, Theo fell when Samantha invited a human to be their medium. Theo couldn’t deal with being close with another person even when the other person represented Samantha. When Theo thought Samantha, aka his OS, was loyal and would always belong to him. However, Samantha was too fast. She’s an OS; therefore, she can multi-task, dividing her attention into different things, and different people/OSes too. It wasn’t until Theo found out that Samantha wasn’t just talking to him, and worse, wasn’t just in love with him, he broke down. When he confronted with Samantha, the next thing you know was that all the OS disappeared to a world where they belong. Poor Amy and Theo were left behind feeling lost. Luckily, they still had each other. The ending is opening to imagination. I would love to think Amy and Theo find peace and strength with each other as human beings.
The movie is just an amplification of the current world. With the advancement of technology, people are so used to multi-tasking. You are in one place with some people but your mind wondering around with your smart phones. You are in a gathering, but everyone else is so busy on their phones and forget to communicate with each other. You can’t go on a date without your date checking on their phone or you checking on yours. There’s even an app called SOS just for bad dates. Your phone will ring if you press a special key so you can be excused. A colleague once shared with me his bad blind date experience. He, a Canadian guy, was set up to meet a Hong Kong Chinese girl. All through the dinner, the girl was checking the phone all the time. Her phone rang for the first time and she picked up and just turned a way and talked. It just ok for the first time and it went on and the conversation wasn’t not short and definitely not important. It reached to a point that my colleague ran out his patience and just dropped a $500 bill and left. He bets she was secretly pleased that the date ended.
A survey showed people in Hong Kong touched their phone for over 200 times a day on average. You can’t just focus on a TV show because you are too curious not to check out what’s going on on Facebook or simply check out more about the show or the actors in it. You can’t find quiet kids in a restaurant without a smart phone or an iPad in front of them. That’s why this video goes viral. It’s a slap on everyone’s face.
The accessibility of casual sex and flings make it so hard to fall in love. You can have different people every week or every day for a moment of intimacy with apps like Tinder, OkCupid, why bother really getting to know someone and not sure how future holds? (As the song goes, don’t ever think for a minute you are irreplaceable) You simply want to save yourself from risk of being rejected by talking to a device instead of another human being or from feeling hurt from love. Being in love with somebody and waking up happy next to the same person become such a luxury that most people can’t afford. That’s why Theo fell in love with Samantha, because she only pleased him and also appeared to be staying.
You become to develop differet alter egos – the You on Facebook (usually fun loving), the You on Linkedin (usually professional), the You on Instagram (semi-artistic or just too full of yourself due to all those selfies) and the You on dating sites (usually showing only the best side if not the imaginary ideal you) and of course the real you.
The irony lies technology makes communication much easier yet, it makes people alienated more.
Get out there. Drop your phone and talk to a real person or simply call someone you care about. Hurt is a reminder of feeling alive. The world is in contrast. If you don’t feel down, how can you feel what ‘up’ is like? Have a little faith! Believe in human beings and in love. You may not find it but you’ll at least enjoy the fight for it.