Friday, November 21, 2008

The Bliss of Ignorance Claims Another Victim

19-year-old Florida resident Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide in front of a live webcam after being encouraged by people online. This example of our brave new world comes in a report by

It's not the technology that should disturb us here, but the ignorance with which it is a part. So many of those we know are having major problems in their lives, are fighting against problems too big for them and are close to collapse - whether through suicide as in this case or whether through stress induced illness. Yet we just project an image over them and relinquish responsibility. We label them as attention seekers, or as f*ckwits, or even as 'cope-rs' who'll 'be ok', who'll 'manage', who'll 'be fine'. Only sometimes they're not just attention seekers. Sometimes they won't cope. Sometimes we'll lose them to their despair.

We all have our limits. We all have our endings. In the 21st century it would be nice to imagine that we have learnt to understand, learnt to empathize, learnt to care. In reality we are more insulated than ever.

The technology is not to blame. Web cams are no more the cause of this problem than remote controls. No, the cause of the problem is actually not a creation of the 21st century at all. It dates back to the earliest of times.

The problem is actually that we don't really care. Until it's too late. We care about our bank balance, we care about our stomachs, we care about the things we want. But we don't care about anyone else.

Abraham K Biggs did not suddenly decide to end it all. And those who knew him - even all of his eFriends - are shocked at this. But in reality, the signs were there to be read. This would not have been a sudden decision because he had a big gas bill. Just like the many Abraham K Biggs who tonight contemplate their escapes, for whatever reason, there are signs and there are cries for help. Yet in today's world, we'd rather fill our minds with empty crap and pretend we don't hear.

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