Nowadays on some levels we have less and less reason to make face to face transaction with people! .... is it something we have chosen or is it something foisted upon us against which we should now and then rebel?
Text and email and whatever else we have in the way of gismos to convey our instructions and needs and feelings have overtaken us as a means of communication. And while no-one would deny that all of it is convenient, fast, and absolutely to-the-moment, there are times when it’s just bleak and dreadful!
There has always been, throughout the ages, some form of third party facility available for when we did not wish to go eyeball-to-eyeball. But setting aside the ’dear John letter’ or the ancient protocol of having your best friend deliver a message to save face and embarrassment, there was never an age like ours for avoiding the bother of personal contact while still generally ‘mouthing off’ ... whether out of moral cowardice, shyness or plain indifference and laziness.
We’re leaving out of the equation here the politeness of sending a text when you’re behind schedule, or reminding someone of something it’s imperative they remember. We’re on about the more random form of texting observable often in the very young and very stupid whilst crossing the road ... or in the ignorant during dinner parties and wedding ceremonies etc! This has reached quite staggering proportions in its abuse of the facility. And setting aside the threat to mortal damage maybe it’s actually dangerous in other ways - unless we want to transmute into some kind of mobile software downloads or robotic species!
The truth (spiritually and emotionally) is that when we communicate we do so with our eyes and our voice - if we are fortunate enough to have all working senses - and often with our body language. Our very heart and soul at times goes into what we are saying, conveying and trying to express. We are sentient beings with the need for much sense nourishment and if we are reduced constantly to typing on a machine - any machine, even a three thousand pound gadget, then we are starving something within us.
It is easy to sack someone by text, dump someone by text, break bad news to someone by text. It is often very hard to look them in the eye and share their emotions. But that is how we actually grow as humans.
And for the argument that there is more than one text or email available to form a rounded dialogue, the counter-argument has to be that if this is so why are we not having the conversation face to face? Or at least voice to voice!
Sure, it’s very relaxing or therapeutic to text; it saves intruding on another person at a time of rest or solitude! It is also very apt from the point of view of not putting someone on the spot.
But the fear has to be that there is a generation or three already emerging who do not, or will not, know how to handle people in all the fullness of the life skills they ought to be inheriting in these advanced times of psychology, freedom of information and greater self-awareness.
There may well be people who do not need to see another human being for weeks on end, owing to the automated systems passing for communicational devices in commerce, welfare and life assistance mechanisms. It is frightening. We already have an ethos where relationships are made and broken on Facebook.
The endless implications are in front of us. We don’t take them seriously because it is easier not to. And yes, we do know that a computer is allowing this article to exist. The technical age of such things is thrilling, as an aid or an adjunct, not as a wholesale substitute to the warmth of human interaction. What is indispensable is not usually missed until it’s disappeared.
The warmth of human interaction, is second to nothing, even among strangers, perhaps especially among stranger in times of crises. Is that why we seem to be having such a lot of these recently in some places?
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