Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
A New Mexico woman attempted to sell her soul on Ebay, according to news reports.
Describing it as a "slightly used soul," the woman said she's offering buyers a kind of a "Carfax" so they can see the black and white marks her soul has accumulated over the years.
But the woman named Lori isn't selling her soul in some kind of weird macabre deal with the devil. You see, after being disabled in a drunk driving accident years ago, Lori told NBC 2 that she feels like she's "at the end of her rope" and just wants to connect with another soul.
Now, it's easy to read this and have a quick knee jerk blogger reaction of outrage. And believe me I can bring the knee jerk blogger reaction of outrage. But I just can't feel outraged by this. Here we have a woman is so lonely and so desirous of connecting with others that she would at least figuratively sell her soul for some human contact. Now, according to news reports, bidding went up pretty fast from $100 to $405 before Ebay removed the item.
It's a big fast moving world and maybe it's no surprise that a woman in a wheelchair was overlooked. Remember when we used to think that technology would make the world smaller. Remember we used to say that technology put the world at our fingertips. But if any of that is true, then why is it that everyone feels so darn distant from each other? If we're so in touch why does everyone seem so out of reach? Tweets, posts, and blogging were supposed to bring us together. But too often all we get are combox wars, monologues, and loneliness. Lots of loneliness.
I think that as a culture we may have gained the ability to connect with millions but lost the ability to connect with one person. We're perfecting an amazing ability to be alone in a virtual crowd.
Technology has pulled us apart. And I'm not saying I'd get rid of it. But let's face it. Air conditioners and television have destroyed communities. People used to sit out on their porches and talk. Now we're inside - dashing out movie quotes and pop news items with our own brand of snark on our IPhone while watching Ice Road Truckers. The Ipods and computers are just finishing the job air conditioners and television started. People don't know their neighbors at all anymore. And it's getting worse.
We don't connect. I remember when we first got a remote control for our television. I was twelve and I couldn't watch one thing. I just couldn't. I always thought there had to be something better on. Somewhere. So instead of watching a perfectly fine Gilligan's Island episode I spent the half hour looking for something better. And miserable. Now that I'm 43 I know that there's few things better than Gilligan's Island.
But technology has so advanced that I think we flip through people like we used to flip through channels. Instead of actually talking and making eye contact with the person in front of us we check our phone, our email, our texts, our Facebook. We've made Gilligan's Island of our friends because maybe just maybe there's something cool going on somewhere else. And gosh darnit, that cool thing ain't gonna' happen without me knowing about it. Early. So I can tweet it, email it and post it on Facebook.
Actual conversation is supposed to take a while. I honestly wonder how many people can tell a joke anymore - I mean a really good joke. There's a set up, the anticipation that makes you earn the laugh, and then here it comes...the punchline. But with technology, everything's a punchline. There's no time for set up. No background. That's why movie quotes are the coin of the realm. We've all seen the movie so we don' t need set up. We need punch lines in 140 characters or less. And maybe an emoticon for good measure.
This Ebay soul-selling was a sad and misguided attempt by a woman to have someone notice her. Someone to realize that there's a soul in this IP address. In a way it's almost a sane response to an insane world. As Christians it's our responsibility, our duty, our joy to connect with other people. Let's make an effort. Let's look past the Wii and find us ;)