Conversation: A lost art?

The lost generations to come

Technology was supposed to make our lives better. It was supposed to make communications better and give us the ability to express ourselves in a rational, thinking manner. The results at present do no lead me to believe that it is doing very well in the art of human interaction. Conversation seems to have become a dying art, lost to past generations. The age of information has become the age of an unrelatable world, that lacks empathy, understanding or the willingness to connect through conversation.

I do not know what will happen when people spend their lives trapped in a VR or AR world. Frankly, I’m not sure that world is one I would be able to understand as a viable human existence. In a world without conversations, there is no mutual understanding. There is no empathy, there is no soul in worlds where people do not converse.We risk becoming automatons without emotion and to what end? These words cannot convey context in a manner so refined and elegant as conversation. This is simply text on a page. I may convey some simple meaning, but this can easily be misconstrued, misused and misunderstood.

Human understanding requires the context of body language along with words, inflection, tonality and perception in order to convey intent. We have one of the most highly developed sense of conveying meaning through conversation, but are unfortunately destroying that through improper programming of the human species to become addicted to the screen versus the person. The screen is not the correct focus. We’ve become addicted to tools over an addiction to people.

I argue that this makes for a population that is literally afraid to converse with other humans. It’s awkward to have conversations with some folks. The widened eyes that appear when another human speaks to them in public makes me think that people will at one point run away when someone says ‘hello’ to them. Covid has not made things any easier for anyone, but the addiction to screens has exacerbated the problem of the lack of conversational skills to a degree that makes me wonder if love will one day devolve into two people texting each other in the same room,

It isn’t simply a problem of generations (though many may wish they could use that tired old stereotypical excuse meant to divide us), it’s a profound issue that prevents people from holding polite and interesting conversation; further, empathy is lost when there is only text on screens. One the greatest things in life is the ability to speak to others, for you can build a sense of camaraderie, empathy and partnership when you speak to others far easier than through a wall of text.

If the AR or VR world is supposed to offer meaning, that is even far nuttier than I can imagine. I see use as a tool but never as a full-on replacement for reality itself. Now, if the replacement keeps folks from destroying our world. that may be a good thing. However, I fear all we will achieve is that people will be so lost in some altered universe that they will fail to see their own demise whilst the planet comes to an untimely end.

We were designed to see, think, speak and react upon the stimuli of the real world. If we use technology to remove the real, we are using our tools to remove ourselves from understanding or even seeing the clues that should be guiding our actions.

If there is one thing that I would recommend to everyone, it is simply to try to connect with your fellow human beings. The world is a wonderful place if you can make yourself focus on seeing others and not denying their existence.

Free Yourself

One of my favorite bands from back in college was The Untouchables. They had this great vibe about them and the song “Free Yourself” still ranks as one of the happier songs of all time for me. if you want, the lyrics can tell you a lot about the concept of freeing oneself.

The reason for this post though, is to discuss the need for individuals to be authentic and free themselves from the need to follow in anyone else’s footsteps. One of the saddest things in life to see is to watch another human being make themselves miserable trying to live up to someone else’s idea of who they should be. That never works out well.

Sure, we all have people who provide inspiration for us, they help us think better or realize our potential. We may aspire to living up to their words, their deeds or their successes. However, when we forget that they too are or were human beings, we set aside the reality of the person for the ideal of the concept of who they are or were. I’ve yet to meet a person who makes no mistakes. A perfect person as a human being is as likely as having ten thousand identical snowflakes. It simply isn’t reality.

We should not think that a single quote from an individual is the sum of their being. It is my belief that when a person takes a single quote as anything more than inspirational, they devalue the being who spoke that quote. A single statement does not a human being make. There is a whole novel in being human, the story of a life is far from perfection. When we reduce a person to one statement and then idolize that as some form of absolute truth, we lose the value of the life that created the expression of those words.

In the last few decades there has been a tendency to take a famous person’s quote and magnify this as if it were the sum total of the being themselves. That saddens me as there is so much more richness in their story than a single quote that may resonate with others. Is it fair to reduce a life to a single quote? I think not. You may disagree, but it simply isn’t even an effective trailer to the person as a whole.

Perhaps it is my makeup, but to me the only value in a human quote is that it represents an inspiration to myself. Something within the words strike a chord in my being, but it isn’t the sum of my life or mind, it may inspire me, but it isn’t a sign of sycophancy where I must shout it out loud or post it for others to admire. Instead, it can be used to inspire action. It may provide a boost to a conscious process or drive a goal within myself. For in that, there is value.

Where the best of each of us exists its when we can exercise our own mind and spirit to derive the best outcome for others. We aren’t the sum of our favorite quotes, but rather beings that can think for themselves. In that spirit, the best comes from the whole, the independent mind that thinks through decisions and seeks the proper outcome for all. Selfishness is the enemy of love, it is the ruin of the independent mind that exercises its knowledge to build a better world.

I’d like to ask one favor of people, consider that a single quote does not create the life story of a person. There is so much more on their canvas, and when you focus on that leaf in the tree, you miss the forest of their existence. Everyone has the potential to do good, but only when we come from a place of love and respect for one another will you truly achieve success. We must appreciate the diversity that creates that ecosystem as a whole.

You will only become a whole being when you can consider that there is a much greater story to be found when you take the time to ponder where the inspiration takes you on your journey. Life, after all is not a destination. That is a known outcome. It is the journey along the way that makes us what we are, and only by thinking for yourself will you ever truly be free.

Have a nice day. Don’t worry, be happy!