2003-02-10

UPDATED: People Are Not Commodities!

The original entry is worded strangely, but it does still ring true (or at least possible) to me. In contemporary American society, one tends to encounter many people in a day, but without much real interaction with them (ordering fast food or checking out at the grocery store doesn't count as real interaction). In most of these encounters, the other person is performing a function and could just as well have been any of a number of other people. Their unique character doesn't matter (and in some cases is obscured by their robot-like behavior anyway, but I digress...).

So, we have the case that it is common for people have many encounters in a day, but very few that involve meaningful interaction with the other person. Neither is depending upon the other, because for both any other person would do just as well. This is very much unlike the way things were some time ago in small communities, where people did tend to have more interaction and interdependency.

It seems to me that we are well along in the process of commoditizing people, and that we should not be too surprised when some people start to get the idea that people are commodities, interchangeable and thus individually expendable.

So, keep that in mind as you go about your daily business, and increase the meaningfulness of some of your interactions with people. Let them know that they are not a commodity to you, and hopefully they will realize that you are not a commodity either. I don't suggest going back to some pastoral lifestyle in order to reverse this trend, but I do think we should realize the consequences of this trend and work to resist it.

This article has been UPDATED.

No comments: