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On Living Vicariously through Technology

Living Vicariously


1. Performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another: vicarious punishment.
2. Taking the place of another person or thing; acting or serving as a substitute.
3. Felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others: a vicarious thrill.

Rapidly advancing technology has many benefits. The Internet for example has made the world a lot smaller and communication between people in different countries a lot easier. It has spread information around the world and given the public control over news broadcasting (YouTube) and information archives (Wikipedia). Another great invention of our time has been the iPod. We are now able to listen to our favourite music wherever we want, storing our entire music collections in our pockets. This very website is a testament to how powerful technology can really be.

However, this advancing technology has also become a catalyst for laziness and a destroyer of creative inspiration. More and more people are living vicariously through TV, video games and sometimes even music. Instead of having direct experiences, a lot of people are happy to experience these things in a vicarious, second hand manner. They are happy to eat up information from the news instead of doing their own research into the topic and coming to their own conclusions. They are content living in a world where they need not question anything or put themselves in any harm. This is comfort. This is security.

Instead of learning to play the guitar, a child of this generation might instead purchase the PS2 game “Guitar Hero” and live vicariously as a rock’n’roll star. Why play the real thing when you can be adored by millions of cyber fans? This makes this person extremely uncreative and lazy. It is a quick fix, rather than pour in the effort and reap the rewards, this person puts in no effort and gets no reward. This is the kid who eats McDonald’s. This is a kid of the vicarious generation.

And just as after a McDonald’s we feel more ill than full, after a few hours of TV we feel drained but without a sense of accomplishment. Do you really feel like you’ve spent your time wisely after you’ve watched TV for hours? The same way you feel when you come back from a long bike ride or run? Or when you finish a painting that took days to paint? You are drained and tired from TV, but there is no sense of well-being.

My humble suggestion to everyone is this: Do things for yourself. Try to have as many purely exciting experiences as you can in one day. Don’t settle for the quick fix. Think for yourself. Come to your own conclusions. Trust no-one’s experiences but your own. I am certain that everyone would benefit from doing this.

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