Technology has its uses in our lives, but most of us wouldn’t want to curl up with an iPad.
That was the consensus this week during the gay men’s discussion at Golden Rainbow Center-SAGE in Palm Springs. The group of men, many of them seniors, regularly meets to ponder a question and talk about related experiences, thoughts and opinions.
The question at the center of their recent discussion was, “Is your pet, computer, or other items a good substitute for a relationship?”
Pets and “other items” quickly fell by the wayside as the 14 or 15 men in the group focused on the woes and wonders of email, texting and web surfing.
“It’s my umbilical cord to the world as far as communication” goes, retired humanist Dr. Timothy Hobson said.
Though he spends “too much of my time on the Internet,” it hasn’t replaced Hobson’s desire for a “true relationship on an intimate man-to-man basis.”
Hobson said he’d like to be in a relationship — but don’t look for him on Chemistry.com, other dating websites or through wireless communication.
“I don’t think you can build a relationship through any of your gadgets,” Hobson said.
He hasn’t met any true friends online, he said.
“I realize I’m out of step, but I don’t think the steps being taken are in the right direction,” he said.
It’s an opinion others in the group echoed. Here are some of their thoughts on the topic:
“It’s a way of being able to filter communication and socialization. You get to choose who you’re talking to and how often.” — Steve, referring to texting and electronic status updates, such as Tweeting
“We’re all a bunch of aliens.” — Jim S., referring to people who use handheld communication devices as they’re walking, head down, in public
“Disputes can’t be settled in written communication, especially by email. You need to sit and look at someone eye to eye.” — Bill, about an ongoing argument he’s having with an acquaintance through email
“It’s creating a lot of isolation. Twenty years from now the Internet is going to be more sophisticated and we’re going to be even more isolated.” — John, who finds the Internet useful for job searches but not in building relationships
“If you don’t join in with society, the trend, you’re sort of an outsider. I’m going with it.” — Robbie, a fan of smartphones and other handheld devices
“I had to leave because of the texting. How important can that be that you can’t take time out to watch a movie?” — Louie, about moviegoers who texted during a screening
“Can you imagine this group discussion being conducted on the computer?” — Jim S.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Is technology a good substitute for traditional relationships with people?
IF YOU GO
The next gay men’s discussion is scheduled for 6:45 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at Golden Rainbow Center, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 201.