New York Experience by Gopnik





New York Experience by Gopnik

In his publication, Gopnik uses Mr. Ravioli as the embodiment of the 21st century modern man characterized by a tendency to engage himself in constant business and “busyness”. In the Information Age, being occupied in one way or another is a compulsory feature. Adam Gopnik attempts to use the Ravioli account to bring out this transformed perception of social life in the developed world. Mr. Ravioli is Olivia’s imaginary friend who embodies the rampant preoccupation to an extent that he cannot even play with his creator. This was a unique twist in the conventional scripts. Most imaginary friends are expected to serve the unmet needs and standards of children. However, Gopnik uses the story of Mr. Ravioli Gopnik to illustrate the social corruption and degradation within the current society. Growth of the multinational corporations, rapid pace of industrialization and information technology have all revolutionized the society. Unquestionably, these rapid changes require people that can allocate time for other activities apart form work duties on a daily basis to satisfy the societal demands. Gopnik noted that people engaged in their professions have a tendency of deliberately reducing their social obligations to get more time for work. The author contrasts the type of lifestyles in the 19th century to that of the 21st century. After this comparison, he concluded that humans have always protested of either tediousness or busyness. Communication was very complicated in the previous century compared to the current conditions overwhelmed with affordable and accessible devices. Nonetheless, Gopnik argued that technology platform was high interdependent and this acted as an obstacle to effective communication. Regardless of the fact that the principle of technology was to facilitate an easier life by saving time and overcoming obstacles, the results have been completely different. Rather than liberating time for other social obligations, human beings have become more engaged in their professions.

The increased sources of retrieving information in the society have drastically increased the amount of mental workload for the ordinary person. It is evident that the ease through which people can access information creates a self-inflicted crisis. In other words, more information is directly related to an increased workload. In the story, Ravioli too is occupied; he was alternating between his job obligations and business conferences and allocating no time for recreation with Olivia. The medical fraternity has attempted to explain this emerging phenomenon among children and even older people. While on the surface it may seem to be a psychological condition, the creation of an “inaccessible” imaginary child as exhibited by Gopnik’s daughter is a result of the societal condition. Gopnik accurately identifies the primary origin of the issue, but it is inadequate to blame communication technology. Technology is an inevitable result of innovation and change. However, modern forms of communication allow human being to exist in a state of permanent limbo, of agitated “busyness”, characterized by an absence of closure and decisiveness.

Most people seldom ever see their colleagues on the bus to work or in the office. It is even difficult to see strangers talking in public. Every person is preoccupied with their cell phones or computers talking with other about their social or business lives. The current society demands a hectic and aggressive with the objective of realizing success. Humans are always attempting to multitask and finish several activities in the least duration. Apparently, everyone is too engaged to participate in social events since they do not qualify as “business”. It is a constructive trend to be aggressive within the workplace as it promotes efficiency and independence. However, this phenomenon is a direct treat to the existence of the human race. This last section offers several solutions that can rectify the disadvantageous position in which humankind has found itself.

            A drastic but highly effective solution towards the social crisis caused by development and innovation is changing the role played by technology in the lives of people. Currently, many people depend on devices and equipment to run almost every area of their lives from organization, communication, and relationships. Consequently, most social activities are rapidly disappearing and in their place, a lifeless replica of social contact is introduced. The idea is to continue using technology but avoid depending on it as the ultimate solution to all of man’s obligations, social or otherwise. Another solution involves realigning the social obligations. Most people have prioritized work at the expense of the family, friends, workmates, and even the public. People need to be reminded of the important priorities in life.


            At face value, it may be appropriate to conclude that times were better off in the 19th century when technology was still basic. In the 19th century, when people were investing in development and technology, the future was perceived as a bright one. People who have more time for each other, relatives could share many precious moments and the society in general would be improved. However¸ with the turn of the 21st century, this has not happened. Instead, employees, teenagers, males, and females have been enslaved in an endless pursuit of perfection, success, achievement, and excellence. People have become dangerously dependent on technology. It is necessary to find a long-term solution that will restore social balance in the society.

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