“OK, BOOMER”

Evidence of a Growing Resistance to Human Interaction

The caustic and dismissive put-down of older adults with the phrase “OK, Boomer” is just another symptom of a bigger trend: a resistance to human interaction. To wit: people bristling at simple questions about spelling, pronunciations, names, places, and the like, with curt responses mostly limited to, “Just Google it”. This is often followed by detailed instructions about “how to” find answers online, and usually presented with varying degrees of irritation at the apparent ignorance in such matters.

I don’t really believe this has much to do with the appropriateness of those questions — although it feels like that from the responses, but rather what seems to be happening is a growing resistance on the part of my fellow humans to being drawn out of their technology-induced brain-centric bubble-state, and into the world of actual human interplay. Just so everyone is aware, I do know how to “Google It!”; so please don’t misconstrue my questions as some indicator that I have yet to be introduced to the internet. 

It appears to be difficult for many under the age of perhaps 40 to comprehend that someone would actually prefer human interaction to the internet as a source of information. The fact is that I will always choose real humans when they are available, and when I have some reason to believe that the person I am asking is likely to know the answer. That apparently makes me a bit strange in modern times.

Even after being snapped at more times than I can remember for intruding on someone’s mental space to ask a question that could also be “Googled”, I still do it routinely and mostly out of habit. For the vast majority of my life other people were the best, fastest, easiest, most enjoyable, and often, only source of this “quick-hit” kind of information. The irony is most of that still applies. The one new variable in the scenario is whether there’s a willingness on the part of others to be a resource without it occurring to them as being “put upon” or “distracted from techno-mode” by a question.

If nothing else, this is a clear symptom of the hold that technology puts on our awareness, and how distinctly different that awareness is to the one we all exhibit when we are genuinely and gladly engaged with other humans. They are not the same thing, and they appear to be mutually exclusive in that we are required to make some significant internal shift to move from one to the other, which would account for the irritation factor when asked to do so.

This raises the question about how far we should allow ourselves to be consumed by technology to the exclusion of human interaction, and when we should be alarmed at what technology is doing to our ability and/or desire to actually “be with” other humans.

For me, personally, the threshold has already been passed. But I typically keep that position to myself to avoid what will also be the likely response to this very blog post: “OK, boomer.”

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