A touch-stone of the DWP and recent governments (local as well as national) is the concept of “digital by default“. All that paper, all those trees saved! And near-enough instantaneous communication too.
But, for whose benefit? Certainly not the now-privatised Post Office delivery services! But, private enterprise, being now-privatised, sink or swim!
Along with this “digital by default” and in this more so-called modern communication age, the equally so-called “benefits” of on-line communication. Skype, instant messaging, emails. You name them, and others. All of which, of course (or is it?), enabling ongoing and “real-time” communication.
What has not been addressed, however, and is carefully avoided is the extent to which this unfettered idolatry of the digital age has brought about an increase in social isolation.
Pardon? Better communication has brought about an increase in social isolation? That doesn’t follow, does it?
Think about it. Over recent decades and, generally, as a direct result of industrialisation, nuclear families (as they used to be called), like nuclear physics, have been torn apart, split asunder, and examined closely in terms of the individual and, as portrayed, individual and separable parts. But, backing up a little, are they genuinely and honestly individual or separable? Could the individual atom and, theoretically at least, its separable component parts, exist in isolation? Welcome to the atom/hydrogen bomb! Not at all! It explodes and causes wide-ranging and life-long lasting damage.
And so it is with the foundation, the bedrock, of families. Nuclear families were those now anachronistic entities when “family” looked after family: generations within hailing distance of one another (often under the same roof) and looking out for one another. And then the concept of “on yer bike!” No work? Get mobile, move, and go to where the work is. The appropriate word for the one-time family unit is ‘fragmented’. These days, perhaps ‘dysfunctional’ is more appropriate.
Overall, and governmentally-ignored (knowingly governmentally-avoided?), “digital by default” has resulted in an increase in real-time isolation and more real-time, everyday loneliness than ever did industrialisation. A slow-motion explosion of family, cultural and identity cohesion.
“Digital-by-default”? To up-date the one-time film theme tune, “Hello, loneliness, my old friend!” Oh, how the words of that song have so very, very much to say about and against our so-called “modern” society, and those who run it!