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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

iPod iSolation

Published: December 1, 2006
Section: Opinions

Inundated by music, he traverses the campus without a care. Separating himself from reality and social interaction, he is in control of his own destiny. Switching the music, changing the volume, and otherwise conditioning the soundtrack of his own life, our hero is at the helm of his fate. Waves, gestures, and other kinds of salutations are ignored, as his barrier is impenetrable to mortal greetings. Reality, the world, and in fact existence itself is obscured as he continues to plug himself to the cacophonic noise of his iPod.

I know what youre thinking. You probably believe that iPods are one of the greatest inventions ever created. Though they have given an innumerable amount of people a cure for boredom and socially tepid events, are there downsides to this advancement? Sure, our generation has seen the emergence of a breakthrough in music technology, but is this progress wholly good for society?

No! The first and foremost reason is the fact that iPods invariably separate humanity and limit human interaction. And this is part of a common trend, for as we hide behind computer screens or cell phones in the guise of text messages, we are constraining ourselves to this wretched path. The course that the damnable iPod leads us on is one of isolation and loneliness. It is far too easy to walk around plugged into one of these devices and be free of any social necessity to greet a friend or wave back. It is far too simple to go about your own life without regard for the people around you and be freed from the burden of social interaction. iPods cause us to isolate ourselves in a music-induced cocoon and this restrains social interaction and personal relationships.

iPods also give a false sense of reality and can even obscure the lines between fantasy and the real world. Whenever we have a bad a day, whenever it seems that times are hard as they can get, we can use our iPods. For the happy times, for the sad times, and for the times that we are just bored out of our minds, there is always a device that can suite our specific needs. But this is where the problem lies! For though a championship can be celebrated with the inundation of a Queen melody, or a sad episode ushered away with that horrible Had a Bad Day song, this is not how reality actually works. Comfort a friend and seek solace in other people, but when we turn to our inanimate objects to be the catalysts for our emotional release, we inevitably take a step toward greater inhumanity.

I can list the damage iPods can do to your ears, various social effects, and other harms that are associated with these devices, but I wont. I merely desire to humbly present to you various disadvantages to iPods that may not necessarily pop into your mind when you so willingly utilize this device. For it is certain that iPods have wide-sweeping and drastic ramifications that we cannot possibly imagine. We have become a people who, similar to Fahrenheit 451, plug ourselves away in an attempt at self-isolation. Americans have desired to find an easy shield for their emotions, and it happens to come in a small, easy to use, black, white or other colored box with small earplug headphones that always fall out. I suppose Ill just have to deal with it, but next time you walk around campus with your headphones on, you may want to lower the volume, because about a dozen people just tried to say hello!”