So my opening statement probably comes as no surprise to most people. What surprises me, however, is how immersed in our own environments we can be even when we're in the public realm. I suppose the consumer item that in a sense started all of this was the Sony Walkman, in the 1970s. Think about it, for the first time ever, one had the ability to control the emotional context of one's own sphere. You no longer were subject to the chaotic whims of surrounding background noise and interruptions.
Today, the situation I'm describing is even more pronounced, because we have even more ways to enclose ourselves while in public. We still have music, of course, but also mobile phones, all sizes of computers, and well, I guess we also still have all the traditional media--books, newspapers, etc. I'm enclosing myself in public as I write this, in fact.
I can't help but think of William Gibson's mental environments when I think of how many ways there are to isolate ourselves while around others. It's like "jacking-in" to another world.
But then I think, are we really isolating ourselves? Perhaps it's just another way, maybe even a BETTER way, of connecting to others, and to the world around us. Connection by choice, not just by propinquity. Perhaps both are good, as long as a balance is maintained. We are still physical beings, after all.