A recluse is a person who lives in voluntary seclusion from the public and society (1). It used to be that if someone were called a recluse or hermit they were considered an outcast of society, a freak. Being a recluse was considered a social disorder brought on by an inability to cope with people, your surroundings, or outside stimuli. Our society today has become so technology focused many people apt to live virtually instead of in the real world.
Since the advent of the internet combined with the technological breakthrough of ecommerce, it is now possible to do everything in life at home on the computer and never have to cross the threshold of a door. Here’s a brief list of things you can do now from your computer: go to school (grade school to graduate degree), buy clothes, order food, buy cleaning and household supplies, work/self-employment, talk to other people (via social networks), find a spouse, pay bills and much more. We’ve been spoiled by technology to the point where we have no concept of the real world. But to make matters worse, a person can now create and recreate alter egos for ourselves depending on the mood he/she’s in and the amount of free time he/she has.
There is more incentive and appeal to stay at home and be plugged in. Instead of braving the real world and going on a blind date a person can sit in total seclusion and select from a wide variety of people to “wink” at. Meeting a person online for a Skype session or to harvest crops on Farmville are just some examples of how the internet has becoming a living breathing organism that is incorporated into our lives. We have to schedule out time in our day to connect to this technology not only because we want to but because our lives have been conditioned in such a way that we have to.
It’s time for people to be brave. I say take a sabbatical from technology. You’ll experience withdrawals, you might feel the phantom vibrate of a phone that’s not even in your pocket, but trust me – it’s time to get out and get some fresh air. Instead of playing a first person shooter game, why don’t you go out and learn how to hunt. Instead of chatting with someone on AOL Instant Messenger, invite them to coffee.
Get connected in a real and meaningful way. Create real memories that can only be achieved by face-to-face interaction.