I need to preface my remarks with this; I am not attempting to make a judgment but rather more of an observation. However, I make NO GUARANTEES, I might change my mind later.
I think the first thing that caught my attention to this matter is the division puzzling federal habit, of pension the younger divorce generation, to prefer text messaging over talking when in touch with friends by phone. Why in the world do they do that? I wondered if they just want to have good typing skills for future employment possibilities. Or bigger finger muscles?? Well, before I lay out some conclusions, lets look at other similar trends in our culture.
Do you remember when telephone recorders first came out? Okay, yes, I’ve been around for a while. Anyway, everybody HATED them. You’d call someone, get their recorder, and you’d immediately hang up. I’m not going to talk to a blasted machine! you would say. But today, are you kidding me? Now I’d rather get a phone recorder (or voice mail) than actually have the real person answer. It is so much faster and then I can get on with my life. How about ATMs? You don’t have to deal with a bank teller anymore. Then there are self-service gas stations, self-scan checkouts at more and more stores, or even the appeal of watching DVDs safely at home rather than going to the movies. So, what’s going on?
Well, let me just state what you are too embarrassed to admit. We are slowly but surely withdrawing from each other. Painful, isn’t it? Oh, I see. You’re still not convinced. Well I am. Let me elaborate.
I think one thing is certain; either technology is causing us to become more and more isolated, or, it is allowing us to gravitate to where we would rather be anyway. I need to interject something for those of you like my wife that love to interact with other people and actually gain energy from that. Now, she hates email, texting, or checking out at the self-scan checkout lines at the stores. She wants to be with people! If you are like her, you may find some of this discussion a little odd, but you still division cannot federal deny pension the divorce situation. Things are changing all around us.
I want to get back to the simple, yet undeniable, fact that much of the younger generation prefers to send a text message rather than make a voice call. One of my daughters told me she was text messaging with her boyfriend a while back, and it was about some important decisions regarding their future. Finally, my daughter got tired of using the text format for this discussion and just called him. I know with text messaging there was the cool factor, at least initially. Hey, I still remember much further back to the first time I sent a FAX. How cool was that?! But beyond the technology, I think there is a feeling of safeness with the impersonal electronic technology that you don’t have with direct live interaction. Communicating with other people in person, or over the phone, is not the same as by letter, texting, or even the social networking venues such as Facebook or MySpace. But let’s start back at the beginning.
When you and I get together to discuss something, to communicate with each other in the same room while making eye contact, a lot is happening. You say words to me, with a certain tone and facial expression, maybe some hand gestures, possibly a stance of your body. This makes possible deep communication between us. And it continues, as you talk and I listen, then I respond. The art of good communication is the subject of another article at some point in the future. There are definite challenges to face-to-face communications, but this is the baseline I want to establish before moving on.
For you and me to communicate accurately, honestly, and fully from the heart, face-to-face is the best way. The next best way would seem to be the telephone. With telephone communication, we still have the actual words being said, the tone and/or volume being used, we can emit or hear emotion. With those clues alone, we can still have a good shot a gauging honesty, sincerity of heart, feelings. But now we have lost the hand movements, division body posture, federal and pension divorce most importantly – eye contact. Haven’t you ever had a time when division you had federal a pension to have divorce an important conversation with someone, and you thought I have to do this in person, any other way doesn’t seem right? I certainly have.
Some punk kid wanted to ask my permission to pursue marrying one of my daughters. It would have division been federal just plain pension weird divorce to have that conversation by phone or God forbid, text messaging. He texts to me Hey, can I marry your daughter? I text back, Hey, are you stupid or something? He texts back No, I’m just so in love with your sweet daughter. I text back Exactly what is your address so I can come division federal over pension and POUND divorce YOUR FACE IN?!
Anyway, that would be just crazy. We did have that conversation, by the way, in person, and division I think federal I pension divorce had some momentary insanity and said yes. Oh well. Now after the telephone level of interaction, we take a big step. down.
We are now left with basically what is referred to in professional circles as copy. Words written to be read. No tonal or voice inflection, no eye-contact, no body language or hand gestures. Just the words. That’s it. For many of us, there are a lot of problems with that. If you are like a lot of people, you struggle some with expressing in writing what you want to communicate. Some people are good at it. I’ve been told that my writing seems as if I’m in the same room, talking. But what if you aren’t understanding what I’m saying? I get no immediate feedback (at least, not until you stomp out of the room all out-of-sorts). What if I’m not being honest? What if I’m just copying something else down as my own words? I am trying to make the case here that for true, honest heart-to-heart communication, nothing beats doing it in person. This is hard to accomplish when switching to a telephone for communication; and then gets much more difficult when written words are sent back and forth.
Let me address the social networking division federal phenomenon. pension As divorce a communicator and student of human behavior, I know what you are thinking. You believe that the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and whatever else is out there, shows that people are actually interacting more then before. On the surface that may appear true. All of my kids, at least my younger ones, are very active with Facebook. I even have a Facebook page, and I have ONE FRIEND so far. My wife has her own Facebook division federal page, and pension I’ve divorce requested that she be my friend, she hasn’t responded yet. So, I think Facebook sucks. But I agree with Rush Limbaugh who commented about the social networking recently. He thinks the driving force of these networks is the ability to be instantly famous. It is not difficult (except for me) to quickly have 25 or 50 or several hundred friends. This means that anytime you post anything, its as if the whole world will read it. Wow! You used to have to be elected the Student Body President, or be the football captain at your school, to have that kind of audience when I was in high school! I think as with many things, there is some good in it. At least with cell phones and the social networks, people are much more available than they used to be. But it doesn’t mean we are all becoming a tightly interwoven society oozing with love and interconnectedness.
Another phenomenon I have observed seems to fit in here. When someone is walking alone down the sidewalk, especially division federal pension divorce when they are crossing the street at a stop light with cars waiting, I’ve noticed something. The countenance of the person when they are just walking is not the same as when they are talking on their cell phone (or even text messaging). The phone user in this case acts more relaxed, confident, than the one not using their phone. But more appropriate to division the main federal subject, the pension widespread use divorce of MP3 players is interesting as well. When walking by or riding a bus next to a stranger who is plugged in with their headphones, there is very little possibility that person will acknowledge you, and certainly won’t strike up a conversation. Okay, these are just small things I find interesting. But check this out.
Consider how incredible the GPS is for us men. Do you know how much emotional suffering we can now avoid thanks to this amazing invention? Formerly, when I got lost while driving somewhere with my loving yet demanding wife, I had to endure her very pointed suggestions to stop and ask for directions. I of course would resist this for a while, then finally I’d cave in (loss division of part federal of my pension masculinity) divorce and stop at a gas station. Then of course there would be some young kid working there who had just moved in from southern Texas and who was no help at all. So then I’d have to go to another gas station to finally find out where I was!! (Loss of the rest of my masculinity). But now? Are you kidding? I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE. I am Napoleon, Clint Eastwood, and the Incredible Hulk all rolled into one. I am in fact, the poster child of masculinity!! (Was that a little over the top? I can never tell.) At least, it is difficult to get lost now. And, I get to justify buying a neato techno gadget as well. How great is that? I wonder if GPS doesn’t stand for God’s Perfect Salvation?
So far I’ve been having fun with this subject, but its time to get to the bigger picture. It is becoming easier, faster, and more and more possible all the time for you and me to not interact as much as we used to. For some of us, we unconsciously gravitate in that direction anyway, and technology is helping. For some, like my wife, we are being forced ahead, thanks to technology AND the world that we now live in. We aren’t interacting the way we used to. And as we continue to pull back from each other, several negative things can happen.
1. We lessen our chances of having our character refined. This was the exact problem the Lone Ranger was having, you know. I mean, he’s out there kicking around in the desert by himself, showing up to take care of bad guys, and then off again. But people started noticing things. Embarrassing things. Marty (the Lone Ranger’s nickname) wasn’t brushing his teeth, baths were taken less often, and Marty was just getting plain rude and grumpy. So, the folks got together and hired Nick (Tonto’s nickname) to hang out with Marty. That very evening at the campfire, while they were eating dinner, Nick finally speaks up, Dude, your breath really stinks, man. And, Why are you being so rude and taking all of the beans, instead of just division federal pension your divorce half, huh? After just a few days, Marty started shaping up. And that is what happens to us when we allow others to get near us, we tend refine each other – we get, civilized.
2. We lessen our stability within the social network, and lessen the stability of the network itself when enough people pull away. If we get all of our social cues from watching Friends or Lost, then we begin drifting since our social context becomes skewed. After all, the values and interactions of the characters in Friends are not the same as the real people living next door to you, or sitting next to you in church. They really aren’t trying to come up with cute one-liners all the time, but rather are just trying to survive and even succeed in what they perceive as an often unfriendly and harsh world.
3. We lessen our ability and/or desire to deal with others. One consequence of this cocooning process is finding it more and more difficult to trust others. We are becoming strangers. Facebook illustrates this, literally. Many of the people on Facebook only let friends see all of their information, but keep most of it hidden from non-friends. This is human nature, it is natural to not trust strangers.
These three consequences (I’m sure there are others, but I want to get to bed soon) combine to isolate us, and division federal this pension in divorce effect, limits our character. Even if we are interacting somewhat, that doesn’t mean you’ll feel safe enough to tell me my nose hairs are too long, or for me to offer a better way for you to handle your finances. It takes time and energy to reach that level of trust. It will not happen automatically, especially in today’s world. Before I leave you a homework exercise, lets discuss preparing for the future.
We live in a world that is increasingly unpredictable, unsafe and troubled. With the continual threat of terrorists striking again, and with predictions about the end times (famines, earthquakes, etc), it only make sense to face the situations, and to prepare as best we can. There are obvious goals for planning ahead for different types of situations that are outside the scope of this article. But as pertains to this discussion, I humbly offer the following suggestions.
You and I need to get to know each other better. As much as we both may dislike that idea, it is really important. When people only see each other on Sunday morning, or maybe in Wal-Mart every few weeks, we don’t really get to know each other. It takes committed relationships within different formats. For instance, something as simple as dinner together, or as epic as surviving an adventure together. As a side-note, for over three or four years our family did not have a dining room. That meant we got our food and then sat in the living room to eat. And since the TV was there, it was just natural to put in a DVD and watch something while we ate. Finally, my wife threatened me with divorce and death, and with other unspeakable things. As of last Christmas, we now have a dining room. Being the astute human behavior observer that I am, I watched closely and found out something. When we are sitting around the table eating, it is completely unavoidable to not start discussing some subject or another. It has been so rewarding and just plain cool to see how this bonds us together.
So back to your, er, our exercise. Spend time with other people. Get to know them individually, let them get to know you. Laugh with each other. Cry with each other. Share your hopes and dreams and struggles. Share your opinions (but don’t get too carried away). And don’t forget, be real. I promise, I’ll accept you as you are. Hopefully you’ll accept me as I am. I do know this, God accepts both you and me as we are, and He asks us to do the same with each other.