Is Technology Leading To Our Isolation?

We go to restaurants and we see people looking down at their cell phones and avoiding interaction with each other.  We know we need to dis-connect to connect, and yet it seems so hard to actually do. We are connecting electronically with everyone and communicating with no one. We are trading real relationships for electronic relationships.

A recent driving school instructor survey stated that one emerging concern was new drivers (mostly teenagers) didn’t understand steering. The report said it used to be that everyone rode a bike as a kid and knew right from left, but now new drivers need to learn how to turn the wheel even to provide direction – particularly in order to back up. He said parallel parking was the worst. I wonder if today’s kids are doing less bike riding and more electronic games, so even our play-time is less interactive and collaborative and more isolated.

We are so interested in supporting our great way of life, it is choking the life out of us. Power used to be having a cellphone. Today power is in not using one. ~ Jim Trunick

“We have fewer kids, more income, more information, and more problems. Loneliness is up and and happiness is down.” ( WSJ 9.2012) We try to handle conflicts with our devices and we don’t get the full message due to lack of voice inflexion and body language. And successful communications are few and far between. We avoid the tough face-to-face conversations – because we think we can. Our real feelings might come through and that could be bad. Avoidance isn’t resolution. We seem to be in a civil war between our statements versus our thoughts. While we explain calmly an issue to someone, inside our mind we are fuming. Our electronic connecting talk skills are not effective on the phone or face-to-face.

We truly need one another to make us whole. We have modern houses with no front porches that were used in the past to meet neighbors and to welcome friends. We are becoming weaker friends, not stronger. We have bigger fences, larger walls and more privacy. We have an “I hate people” mindset, and we rush to get back into the safety of our own space. Our space is building isolation – and it could be  accelerating our demise. We need to give honor to the lesser values (those values that aren’t your beliefs, thoughts or attitudes, rather someone else’s) among us, because they are fewer in number, rare, special and more vital. They are indispensable. These values aren’t really counted as yours, but they shape the richness and diversity in our community. Otherwise we risk becoming arrogant, self-policing and abusive to those whom are not us. Our great culture becomes a Cult!

Question: Great teams?  – they all know the fundamentals, and only become great through honoring the differences in others  ~ Vince Lombardi

Japanese fable. – If you are in a terrible shipwreck, stuck on a very small lifeboat, and you can only save one person  – the mother or the child – whom do you save? In Japan, they tend to save the mother, because wisdom is so revered,  and vital to shape the younger generations. In the U.S. we tend to save the child, because a child represents our future. Both options are the same goal but with a different orientation. Respecting and learning different values is what keeps us strong.  I have asked groups the same question in a slightly different manner, instead saving only one, either a stranger or your pet, whom would they choose? The answer is mostly the pet. Wow! This truly reflects our isolation from one another. Isolation is one of the major components of depression. Yet on we go spinning downward due to our fixation on hoarding success. We have gone from our forefathers being citizens, to becoming consumers.

Our parents grew up in an era when the economy talked about “labor” skill (Labor – focusing our humanity as below the neck, hands and feet)  and less intellectual value of talent.  (Talent – focuses on above the neck, head and heart). We need both. Our manufacturing and labor-based citizens are struggling and even overseas the capacity to be either labor or talent is challenging in an economic system requiring both.

Accountability is not the goal. Holding someone accountable stifles creativity, stunts activity, and creates fear. Accountability is the fruit of an emotional connection. If one hurts, we all hurt. And we are left saying – No, big deal, or I am tough, I can take it. We are meant to be in fellowship. Community isn’t a nicety it’s a necessity. One of the worst punishments in our civilization is abandonment of touch. See Elba Island for Napoleon or solitary confinement for our penal system for details. No community; no hope.

Question: For any of us lucky enough to receive an award or gain recognition – What’s is the first thing we all do? Answer: Thank someone else!


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