People in our country are starving, not physically, from lack of food, but relationally from lack of connection. I was surprised to see the commercial on a local television station promoting a new series on their nightly news. Each Wednesday night they plan to do a feature on the news anchor's new baby. I saw pictures of the lad and he's darling and his mother seems nice enough, but why is the news anchor's baby news?
forgotten by everybody,
I think that is a much greater hunger,
a much greater poverty
than the person who has nothing to eat…
We must find each other.”
I suppose seeing a smiling tyke may be a nice break from the awful reality surrounding us, but I think it's about more than that. People aren't connecting normally anymore. They're culling interest in one another via the media, through characters on t.v., Facebook, e-mails and the like. Before you point it out, let me say I recognize the irony in talking about this on a blog, one of the main contributors to the phenomena. I can understand the appeal of our new forms of communication. Requiring little time investment, using technology is very efficient and pretty safe. We don't have to see a look of disappointment or sit through awkward pauses or even explain ourselves too much. But is something lost in that? Are we missing out on true connectedness? In avoiding actual physical contact are we losing our ability to relate to one another?
I've met lots of neat people through blogging. I'd go so far as to call them friends. We have things in common and/or challenge each other's thinking. I have learned from them, but I'm not sure if they qualify as real relationships. I have never met them and certainly don't invest much time. I pray for and sincerely care about them, but is that really being there for them?
I know much can be gained through these...shall we call them virtual relationships? I formed one of my best friendships through e-mail correspondence, but we also spent many hours talking on my back porch apart from our musing about life online. Could deep connection have happened without physical interaction?
Is this lack of connectedness merely a casualty of our time? Is this where society is now? Am I feeling nostalgic for the "good ole days?" Or could it be our souls aren't finding the intimacy we long for, so we settle for what we can get? Do we have trouble finding connection because we are all out of the habit? Are we perpetuating a very bad cycle? Maybe we've been hurt too bad in the past to risk it again and use technology to protect ourselves. But what is lost as a result? Are we sacrificing possible meaningful relationships to stay safe?
I don't have any answers, but I worry about us. Will women my age get together for coffee in their golden years or will the physical relationships no longer exist? Perhaps I'm oversimplifying things and not appreciating the emotional connections formed through advances in technology, but I can't get over the vast difference a face to face meeting produces. Communication of any kind is good and edifying, but real live people are the ones who hug you when you lose a loved one. It was the people I interact with on a weekly basis that came to my rescue getting my house ready for graduation after my unexpected surgery. It takes people who are here in my corner of the world to watch my kids or accompany me to a movie. I hate to diminish the quality of virtual relationships because I know mine have impacted my life for the better, lifting many a dreary day and encouraging me greatly, but they cannot replace actual people.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I'm very interested in your impressions about connection. I don't believe I'm alone in thinking it is a real problem for people. Leave a comment and let's at least start a virtual relationship today, okay?
Visit Amy for more ideas about this quote. (In an odd twist of virtual fate, she happens to be the woman who designed my blog. Crazy, huh?)