We live in a world connected by communication. Radio, television, the Web and Social Media are creating a network of connectedness. We can find a wealth of information, graciously placed at our disposal by News outlets, Universities, Companies, Interest Groups and Individuals. We can send any variety of intelligence and information to anyone at any time. We are no longer separated by the distance of time and place… but are we still separated by the distance of differences and defenses?
At the same time that all our expanding ways of being in touch with global events and local needs is giving us unrelenting facts, all those words, sent into the cyber realms have still left a deficit of feeling, compassion and understanding. It seems that we are lost in an avalanche of verbiage that carry each communiqué but all of the interaction is actually distinctly deficient of personal connection. These virtual connections have become, as informative as they are, the very means of our disconnection. The nightly News, the Social Intelligence, the displays of personal information and the incredible array of facts available from myriad outlets are all something outside of the individual who receives them. They do not and cannot elicit the same responsiveness that personal connection does.
In fact… people do not receive these connections as having anything to do with their own self and life but rather as an extension of life that happens just beyond their own personhood and reality. We are filled with the facts of other people’s existence without any responsibility for or ability to… influence any of it in real ways. Whatever participation that we garner is to support with more words or monetary contributions… which is beneficial and has value, but at the same time is an overload of words and compunction to purchase or donate. There has never been such a level of communication with so many and it tends to short circuit the average system.
When faced with things that we feel we have no influence over, no personal capacity to change and/or no responsibility to transform… the natural reaction is… to withdraw. Our cyber world has connected us to the many and disconnected us from the immediate.
The younger the person is who delves into the cyber realms, the more danger there is of disenfranchisement from real feelings, immediacy of needs, compassionate response and recognition of reality for the ‘others’.
The immediacy of being in the presence of any other persons who are experiencing life in whatever manner… fairly forces those they connect with to respond or react in some way. Without that impetus, human beings are very likely to take in the information of what is happening to others but it never truly digests within. It is a cursory glance at a frame on a screen… it losses it’s reality in reception.
There is also the problematic arena of having information about lives… by the millions. Never before has human kind had to deal with the realities of so many differing individual and collective lives. The disruptions and desperation of so many is inconceivable… and so it is tuned out, as much as possible. The linking to many ‘others’ to us has the wonderful aspect of keeping us in that loop but if there are many who are only connected by another’s connections, it quickly becomes inconsequential to our everyday life. There is seemingly only so much time and attention to disperse amongst so many.
Major reporting agencies give us the news… but only the news that is allowed. Having such conflicting reporting of world events and local realities, because of prejudicial economic, political and nationalistic bias, so confuses us that we decide to either take a side and join the conflict or sit it out and hope for the best. Being bombarded by conflicting information, lies, buying and influencing of opinion… do not lead us to healthy and resolution-oriented conclusions. Confusion and divisiveness cannot create solution, nor does it connect us to the reality of needs and compassionate resolution of them.
As reliant on and blessed by the many forms of mass communication as we are, there is also a need to not become so immersed in that view of our life on the planet that we can no longer be in touch with our own thoughts and opinions and the actual realities facing others. Our new question for the millennium is… can we be connected and know when and how to disconnect from those sources so that we…
personally participate in our own life and those close to us? Can we learn a new means of utilizing all of the possibilities for communication and turn them into real, up close and personal, connection?