Thoughts on some effects caused by the replacing of human-to-human contact by electronic gadgetry

In a recent conversation I said something that got onto some interesting things:

I mentioned that I was watching a show from the 1980’s and noted how there is a difference between people then and now.  This is something I’ve noticed many times before.  I remarked that “back then, life was based in human-to-human contact.  Nowadays, this is lacking and seems to be causing some weird effects.”  This is not a new observation.  Over the past some odd years this has made me wonder about the impact the lack of human-to-human contact has made as well as its effects.  I then stated, “I wonder if the paranoia, over sensitivity of people, and how people see threats in other people, which is so prevalent nowadays, may be related to the lack of human-to-human contact.  Its as if the lack of human-to-human contact has made it so that people have a harder time relating to other people.  One effect of this is that people expect other people to be the way they want them to be and, when this doesn’t happen, they see them as threatening in some way causing a lot of paranoia and fear that doesn’t exist.”  I think that there is a lot of truth in this.  Naturally, I thought more on it . . .


The lack of human-to-human contact is primarily caused by electronic gadgetry that has particularly appeared in this century.  The prevalence of this gadgetry has, in some sense, replaced human-to-human contact to varying degree’s and ways.  Many of the younger generation, I am told, are having problem associating with people because of their reliance on electronic gadgetry.  This doesn’t surprise me.

This association of people through the medium of electronic gadgetry causes a number of conditions:

  • There’s no personal association and so there is no”personal connection” . . . they are not associating with a person, in reality . . . this often makes many people look as if they are “looking into a void” with a blank expression
  • People are seen in a distant and narrow way . . . primarily as words, sounds, or images
  • There’s no “reading” of people . . . no intuition or insight into people, human nature, and ones self is required
  • There’s no having to learn to adjust to different peoples qualities
  • There’s no reason to have to accept other peoples qualities and ways
  • Being based in words, sounds, or images, and not the person themselves, the association is dictated by what you want it to be . . . you “take what you want and leave the rest” . . . this causes a tendency to exaggerate some things and ignore others which tends to cause distorted interpretation
  • There is nothing to signal that you did something wrong or right . . . there’s no feedback . . . so you tend to think you’re always right or that everyone agree’s with you

One could say that the overall effects of these conditions are:

  • There is no feedback
  • One is dictated by ones own thought or feelings
  • The association is without personal-to-person meaning 
  • There is little or no altering of ones self to fit the conditions of the association

Basically, the association, through the medium of electronic gadgetry, is like associating with people in a partial or half-hearted way.  In some respects, a person is as if “in a shell”, and all by themselves, associating with an “artificial image” of the person that is conveyed through electronic gadgetry.  This association is primarily done in these ways:

  • Through words (such as email)
  • Through sounds (such as the telephone)
  • Through images (such as some social media)

As a result, the person is only “partially there” and is never “completely there”, so to speak.

There seems to be two ways this association can appear:

  1. Active.  Where a person does some active effort in the association, such as talking on a phone.
  2. Passive.  Where a person sits passively and receives something from somewhere, such as reading the news.

Both play a big role.


It seems, to me, that electronic gadgetry has caused a distorted or warped association between people.  Its done this a number of ways:

  • An unnatural normal response.  This is a result of having to adjust to the conditions of electronic gadgetry which are not “human” and “normal”.  That is to say, people are reacting normally but to the unnatural condition and reality caused by electronic gadgetry which makes it appear distorted or warped.
  • An unnatural unhealthy response.  The lack of, or modified, human association has caused growth and personal problems.

The effect of these include things like:


  • An inability to convey thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc. to other people
  • An inability to connect with other people
  • A lack of genuine empathy or concern for people
  • A tendency to be oversensitive and over reactive when people are not the way you want them to be or when something bothers you
  • A tendency to be insecure in associating with people . . . a lack of confidence
  • A tendency to feel threatened by people, particularly if the association involves some form of conflict
  • A tendency to not accept the ways of other people
  • A tendency to have difficulty with problems between people
  • A sense of “feeling empty”, or unsatisfied, with people
  • An absence of associating with people
  • No desire to associate with people
  • A tendency to only want to associate with people through electronic gadgetry and not on a human-to-human level


  • There is no “discipline” in ones association . . . a person interprets, does, thinks, or feels whatever they want
  • A tendency to “live in ones own world”
  • A tendency to project personal qualities, traits, issues, problems, etc. to other people


  • A tendency to misinterpret people even to the point of fabricating things
  • A tendency to think that you are always right
  • A tendency of intolerance
  • A tendency to think everything should be the way you want 
  • A tendency to look at things in an abstract way . . . that is, expecting things to be the way you think its going to be and not how it really is
  • A tendency to dictate the association between people in rigid ways, such as that association should be based on specific principles, political ideas, morality, etc. 

The Phenomena of Self-Association

The overall effect, in a way, is that one does not associate with a person but with the “artificial image” of the person.  But the “artificial image” of a person does not have a “life” of its own.  As a result, the “artificial image” is given the “life” of ones self.  That is to say, the “artificial image” becomes a reflection of ones self.  The effect of this is that the association with other people really becomes a form of association with ones self.  I call this self-association.

This can cause some qualities such as:

  • Projection.  One projects qualities of ones self onto the “artificial image”. These qualities can reflect any quality with ones self, good or bad.  For example, what one thinks other people are thinking is really a reflection of what one is thinking.
  • Narcissism.  Being based in an association with self, one begins to see the “artificial image” as ones self and it becomes something one grows to love.
  • Alienation.  Because it is based in an association with ones self there is a tendency to become disconnected and alienated from other people.

The Loss of Self:  Mass Mentality and Mass Hysteria

For some people, electronic gadgetry causes a loss of self.  In other words, they look to the “artificial image” of the person to be their self.  As a result, they become particularly sensitive and responsive to this “artificial image”.  The effect of this is that there is a tendency to:

  • Mass mentality.  Since the “artificial image” is their self they easily succumb, believe, and follow whatever it says.  This is often done blindly and without thought.
  • Mass hysteria.  Being without a self, there is a tendency to “get away with one self” and quickly become frightened, panic, and such often blowing things out of control.

These seem very prevalent nowadays.

The Confusion of Self’s:  Hypocrisy

The lack of human-to-human contact also seems to cause a tendency to hypocrisy.  By “hypocrisy” I mean “saying one thing and doing another” or “criticizing a person for something one also does” or displaying a “double standard”.

Hypocrisy shows a confusion of self’s.  That is to say, one treats the other person as if they are them.  This treatment generally reflects an expectation that they will do ones personal ideals.  Being idealistic these ideals reflect “how one would like things to be” which usually means that they don’t practice it.  As a result, the person is judged on the basis of ones ideals that one does not really practice but would like to.  This is basically hypocrisy.

This confusion of self’s – hypocrisy – is caused by the fact that one is not associating with a real person but an “artificial image” of a person that is not “real”.  As a result, one projects ones self, and ones ideals, onto that image.  When that image, which is not perceived as a “real person”, does not behave the they want there is a tendency to extensively criticize them.  This can be done quite extensively and severely.

The Fabrication of Stories and Seeing Things That Aren’t Happening – The Creation of a “Self-Satisfied World”

Since a person is “in ones own world”, and not responding to “real people”, there is often a tendency to fabricate stories and see things that aren’t happening.  This is because many people are not responding to the situation but, rather, they are using the association as a reflection of themselves.  This makes the association something like a “platform” for their problems, issues, conflicts, views, etc.

One effect of this is that it often gives an illusion that they are “right” or that the world agree’s with them.  This can give many people a false sense of satisfaction or certainty or confidence.  But, because of the lack of feedback caused by lack of human-to-human contact, there is nothing to help them “adjust” to the real world situation.  As a result, they further sink into their “own self-satisfied world”.  I tend to believe that many people, nowadays, are living in this “self-satisfied world”, as if in a cocoon or shell, that has been created by the conditions caused by electronic gadgetry.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Mass communication: media, social media, and the news, Mass hysteria, mass society, and the mob, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Science and technology, Twenty first century and post cold war society and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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