Friday, February 2, 2007

Discussion Topic: Isolation

Kuno is contacting his mother Vashti

“But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her.”

Kuno ends the communication. For a moment Vashti felt lonely.

"Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere – buttons to call for food, for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature, and there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world.”

Discussion Question: Based on this excerpt from the story, do you think that technology in today's world isolates us from one another the way Vashti was isolated from Kuno? Why or why not?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I would agree that technoloyg isolates us. The telephone connects me with my mother on a weekly basis; I e-mail my cousin/best friend daily and talk with her weekly. Students socialize like crazy on MySpace. It would seem that technology is bringing us closer together during those times when we find ourselves apart. ~JB

Anonymous said...

I agree that it connects us when we're apart, but with computers at work, I find that I often email my colleagues about something instead of walking a couple doors away to discuss it in person. And people walking through stores talking on cell phones often seem oblivious to the live people around them. cj

Anonymous said...

I also find myself emailing instead of walking next door to talk to someone. It is true that Technology makes connection to others over a distance very easy to do. However, what we miss when we communicate through technology is a person's smile or frown and their body language that tells us how the other person is feeling about what we say. In The Machine Stops, people have gotten so used to using technology to communicate that they feel irritated when they are physically close to someone. MR

Carlos A. said...

There are signs of some physical isolation going on now a days, but not to the extremes presented by the story.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

In some ways technology can bring us together and yes it has some good things about it. However a lot of people dont realize how much we are depending on technology and how addicting it is becoming to our society. I have a cell phone and i love it but now i dont even have to use it, instead i can just text message. Whats wrong with picking up the phone? Going to go visit? In the future we too might use a machine to communicate. Think about it!
Maricruz

James said...

I agree I also call or text someone that is next door before even think about walking across the street or anything like that. Technology is a major factor and I believe it isolates and makes us extremely lazy. And like the story says that people felt irritated when there next to people. That's true today because alot of students wouldn't mind talking to people on myspace but if we see them and talk to them in person it's different because you get to see facial experessions to the way people act to the way that act to your jokes so technology isolates. JR

Markita said...

Personally, I think that technology does isolate us from one another. With today's technology almost everything is at your fingertips. Technology has made it easier to deal with people and situations that you would not normally want to address in person.

Anonymous said...

i do not think that technology solates us; i think that it actually brings us closer together as a whole. Without telephones how would you call people, without tv how would you know the weather and without airplanes how would you visit relatives over seas. brandon

Anonymous said...

In a way it does isolates us because when the electricaty goes out at home for a long time we tend to go out the house to a mall or anywhere but there because of no a/c,t.v, or radio. ~Eduardo

Anonymous said...

I believe that technology has brought people all over the world together. There is more and more people everyday using cell phones. When someone calls a friend or relative that lives far away, you can tell how they are feeling by the sound and tone of their voice. People also use text messaging a lot to communicate to others. Video messaging is another way people use to communicate with each other. ~Peter Ramirez

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I believe technology doesn't isolate anybody; you isolate yourself. Technology has advanced throughout the years to our benefit, but it's just that there are some people that make it an addiction. Technology helps us grow, it can bring families who are far away together, and it can help increase our knowledge. Life is a journey with a lot of chapters and we are part of them, but at the same time we have to have control. Lorena Trevizo

Anonymous said...

Technology, helps us communicate with others that are far away. It is a easy way to communicate with the ones you love. I agree, there are many was you can contact people, email, cell phone, and instant message. With azll the ways we have to talk to one another, technology does not isolate us.

Taron M

Anonymous said...

I agree,if someone that you care about lives in another state, it's not like you can go everyday to there house. It is alot easier to instant message them, and see them through a webcam. On the other hand, I feel that it isn't necessary to IM someone, knowing they are a distance away. AmandaM.

Anonymous said...

I agree that technology connects us when we're apart, like computers and cell phones. I like to have some kind of connections with my boyfriend thats in the navy. because he's not able to talk on the phone, but he is able to e-mail me. Raechelle

Anonymous said...

I agree that technology helps people stay together. I find myself emailing my friends and family instead of just calling or going to see them. But the truth is that you miss their full reaction to what they are saying beacuse what might be funny to them, is probably not to you.-Brenda O.

Anonymous said...

I dont think technology Isolates us. Because our world now is not like their world in the story,we still have to do things on our own. We dont send our kids away to some public nursery, while we sit around in a chair and do what ever we want. We have to make our own food, walk to class, and take care of our kids. I belive that "our" technology helps us learn new things not do thing for us. So I agree with Dr. B when she says that thecnology just brings us together. It helps us keep in touch rather, isolate us from the world. Sarah D

Anonymous said...

I agree that techonolgy do isolate us from our everyday doing in life. We as people depend on techonogly to much,more than we should.It may get us to the point that we don't depend on nothing manuel. Techonolgy is making so many people lazy,as I was viewing someone elese comment where is the activeness in life,most people us the computer for everything even to communicate.Where is the activeness in life,you can not laugh to a computer,you can not see a persons feeling through a computer.People even use computer for pictures,dating,and music.


Annette

Anonymous said...

I think technology makes it more acceptable to isolate ourselves from one another and that brings its own risks. For example, we can justify moving far from family/friends because we plan to use technology (e-mail, flights, phones) to maintain relationships. 50 years ago we might have made such decisions very differently or at least recognized our choice would greatly impact our relationships. I feel relationships change when there is physical distance despite people’s intentions or best efforts. If you maintain relationships by e-mail/phone you can lose the comfort level and intimacy gained by just sharing space with someone and conversing. There is not the 'day to day life' of sharing a meal or running into one another while shopping. A very artificial element can develop not terribly unlike the artifical nature of relationships in 'The Machine'. This was tragically evident in the relationship between Vashi and others. No value was placed on spending time together or even being in the same physical space. With no real 'life experience' with others Vashi had no sense of loss when friends died or when her relationship with her son became strained. Ideas and gaining knowledge not people were of value to her.

Anonymous said...

Technology serves to force consideration in communication. It is possible to express thoughts in writing that would be difficult to express in person. Also it makes thoughts commmitted to writing and then sent electronically become more signicant. My family learned more about my thinking and my daughter's world via reading our blogs. They will take the time to consider what we share, whereas in person there is always "busy" needs (making dinner, running errands) that make them less able to fully comprehend what is going on.

Karintha said...

There are pluses and minuses in everything. I think there is a strong possibility that technology will eventually create isolation, but in my personal life technology has been a blessing. Through use of my cell and e-mail I have been able to communicate with my family about 5 days a week.

Carlos A. said...

In response to Karintha's comment, I think that although some isolation will sprout from technology, complete isolation will not occur. A majority of we humans tend to look for social relationships with other humans because we choose not to feel alone, or isolated.

Anonymous said...

when people can, with little effort, communicate to someone we choice to use technology instead of moving. we are so dependent on the computer and television and other technology that we are losing the personal touches that come from seeing a person or shaking their hand.

shyann l.

jannine said...

I agree with Maricruz we are becoming addicted to technology. No one calls anymore, were too lazy to pick the phone up to our ear instead we type a few short words into our phone or email and there you go. you dont even have to leave your chair.I allso believe that we allready comunicate through machines insted of face to face. Every morning that I go into the assesment center all I see on the screens is the My Space web page. America is addicted to the internet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brenda O. who says that technology does bring us together in someways but at the same time you miss the most important part of that person, which is actually seeing their expressions and reactions.
Maricruz

Xavier Smith said...

I do believe that technology causes us to isolate ourselves from one another. There are parents stuck in there PDA's and Laptops.As well as children glued to T.V.'s and video games. I myself am guilty of spending way to much time on the internet!! If we as a people would find the same time to something more productive who knows what the future will hold. But for know all we get is obesity in return for convience.

James said...

I agree with what Karintha said on her post because our technology has been a blessing because without cell phones and e-mail where would the worlds society be. It can also be a negative because we depend on the cell phones and the e-mail accounts that we use, because if they go out on us at anytime we make a big deal about getting them fixed. So I also agree with her where she says that there will eventually be an isolation with the technology rapidly moving forward. JR

Anonymous said...

Like most others I agree that it sometimes helps us connect with one another using a different form of communication however, I feel that we shouldn't let it control out life in such a way that we lose physical contact with the closest around us! Such as immediate family or good friends. In some ways we do let it eat us up inside and hurts us in the long run!

Jecarra

christal said...
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Anonymous said...

I do believe that technology is bring us closer together.However a lot of people dont realize how much we are depending on technology and also how addicting it has become. I find myself often times emailing my friends and texing them enstead of talking to them face to face. With all that being good and all it still isolats us and can make us very lazy. The one thing about using the diffrent types of technology is that we miss out out on a lot of things, like the reaction on there faces, the smile they put on when they read the email, and also the sounds that they might make. ~MMW

Anonymous said...

I believe Technological does lead to isolation because you can handle everything over the computer.I know for a fact that it can lead to isolation from the world because my job just went to this new system and you can also work at home...if something happen like the weather..

Anonymous said...

I think technology isolate us to a point. These days people would rather talk to others on the phone than communicate with the people that they are actually spending time with in person. One reason for this is because we feel that people in chat rooms do not judge us, and we are more free to express ourselves openly that actually talking to them in person. -LYN-

Anonymous said...

Technology is here to our benefit in many different ways. Some use it for pleasure and some are required to, but at last we are the ones with the control we manage it, so if there is someone to blame is ourselves. Know how to use it and learn to appreciate it. lorena t

Anonymous said...

I agree with JB technology is bringing us closer unlike the people in the story. We use technology to our advantage according to our needs. We don't depend on it as much as they did for learning experinces and other things instead we use it to communicate with the people we care about and keep them close by.
--olga

Monica said...

I agree that it isolates us. And technolgy does keep us in touch with each other. Sometimes it gets to the point where you miss the facial expressions. Theres no face-face communication.

Anonymous said...

I agree with cj because since we are findidng it easy to just sending email, chat with our friends but at the same time they are next door something easy we can do is just walk and tell them straight up.. For example my sister lives in El Salvador instead of me buying a phone card i just chat and put a web cam, so that she can see me and i can see her. What i thinkk is that with this technology were are getting lazy.Elida

Anonymous said...

Every coin has two side. So i agree with the technology isolate us and also technology join us. For instance if our relative or some friends or family member are in different country or somewhere in united states so the only way we connect is through technology that we are using today like cell phone or computer etc. So in this case technology connect us. But on the other hand we become more and more lazy if our friend is in next room then we just call from cell phone or just email. and the main thing we lost face to face communications we miss ficial expression ect. so in this case technology isolate us. patel v

Anonymous said...

I belive that technology doesn't isolate us from one to another. It amazing how computer can connect one person to another.We can sent emails, pictures,or even web cam talk to all the people in the entire word. Vy Tran

Anonymous said...

I do not think technology seperates us but it actually brings us closer together by car, bus, communications. All sorts of technology helps us reach out to a person who you can't reach in person(out of town relatives)._MJ