As I am out an about traveling today, I have logged a few observations with respect to this digital/techno age we find ourselves immersed in and the decline of human interaction. It is quite odd to note the sheer number of social animals mesmerised by their toys instead of engaged in interaction with one another. Especially in a setting which is conducive to collective gathering and chatter, the preference is to consult with ones personal companion – i.e. mobile phone, laptop or other so-called “smart” gadget to occupy their idle time and dull their senses.
I was also quite amazed by the fact that the private mobile phone is not-so private as we would like it to be. Just recall how often you have been privy to a private, personal and often uncomfortable conversation by a number of individuals in a rather public place – such as an airport, movie theatre or a train station. If you should ever find yourself in a very populated location whether it be in one of the aforementioned or any busy thoroughfare, take 10 to 20 minutes and make note of exactly how many social animals you note on their personal mobile phones. My count, in a populated and busy shopping area in one European city came to 100 in roughly 25 minutes. I would not be shocked if you could surpass that number.
It wasn’t so long ago when these items were just novelty and human interaction meant talking to one another or taking the time to chat with someone you were not very familiar with. That took courage by today’s standards. Something that seems to be in drastic decline today. I mean how much courage can it take to live on the internet communicating with others in a sterile manner without having to subject yourself to the frightening aspect of having to speak face to face. And if you have some unpleasant news to convey such as your displeasure with someone or perhaps to end a relationship, why not send an email or better yet a quick text – “It’s been nice spending time with you the last couple of weeks but I think I need some me time now. Perhaps we’ll meet up some other time. :)” Have any of you been the victim of one of these courageous communicates or perhaps aware of someone who has?
It seems as though our lives are becoming so sterile and that society is on this unyielding spiral downward as technology becomes more intrusive in our lives. The most disturbing aspect of that statement is that we are happily riding the train to that very destruction. I have stated before that it is great to connect with someone over vast distances that we would not otherwise be able to stay in close contact with. However, when does the use of devices for that purpose become excessive? To what degree do we remove the human element from our lives? How much of ourselves must we sacrifice for the sake of innovation and technology? The next time you find yourself alone in a populated location with nothing to do don’t be so quick to pull out your laptop or reach for that mobile companion with its mind-numbing apps. Take out a book or even a magazine and read it or better yet take the time to get to know someone around you. You may be pleasantly surprised and your social skills can only benefit from the experience.
Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi
Descending helplessly through air so still
Grasping for branch, vine, or twig
Often in desperation, sometimes without care
To hold, be held, and validated in existence
For nothing can prevent the eventuality that awaits
But prior to that surcease of pain and sorrow, the companion of my seasons
I want to breathe the air divinely
I want to pause to observe the flutter of humming birds wings
I want to view the Transit of Venus across the sun
I want to leave sign and symbol of my diminishing descent from which there is no return
Hear me great hand that designs both fortune and fate
I want to live! I want to live!
If only for a fleeting moment before my journey’s end
Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi
I See, I See!
I wander aimlessly in a world of dreams unfulfilled
Truth, hope and faith have been replaced with apathy, despair and ignorance
The shadows that hide within the confines of the light consumes the integrity and justice of promises long since vanquished
I See, I See!
How eagerly the herd adapts to life in the darkness
No courage inhabits their souls, no wisdom to enlighten their minds, no angels walk among them and no God to save them!
Only death and the pain of the departed to serve as their faithful companion
I See, I See!
I should have remained asleep, blissfully in a dream with my eyes closed
Concealed comfortably within the confines of the fold
Here is a story conveyed to me some time ago. I have been reflecting on it a great deal recently and I sincerely hope that it will be of benefit to you as difficulties arise in your life.
On a migratory journey down south, a bird decided to leave his flock believing that he could reach their intended destination quicker. While in flight through a cold winter spell his wings became stiff and started to ice over. He noticed a peaceful patch of land near a farmhouse and decided to land to de-ice his wings. Shortly after landing in the field, a very large and somewhat unimpressive cow wandered over. She asked the bird what was he doing to which he sarcastically replied, “I am trying to thaw my feathers so that I can continue on my journey south. Why else would I be here in winter?” He went on to convey to the curious cow that he should have never left his flock because he has done nothing but waste time especially speaking with her. The cow, with very little expression, told him that she understood not bothered at all by his sarcasm. She then turned around and proceeded to drop a large amount of “dung” on top of him then walked away very casually. The bird was both shocked and angry. The odorous, hot manure dumped on him was an awful thing to do he lamented. What a worthless, miserable old cow to do such a thing. The emotion consumed him as he now had to clean the smelly dung from his wings.
Shortly there after, a cat wandered over to him. He stated to the bird that he had observed everything that had transpired. He also stated that it was an incredibly mean-spirited thing for the cow to do. The bird agreed and expressed how much difficult the cow had made life for him. The cat then offered his assistance in cleaning the dung off of him. He stated that he could lick that off of him in no time at all and he would be free to be on his way. The bird accepted the cat’s assistance with very little thought at all. He felt that he had wasted enough time in that field and could not stop thinking about the choice he had made with respect to leaving the flock. The cat promptly kept to his word and cleaned every bit of the manure from his wings. The bird was elated, and could not thank him enough. He then prepared to take flight again to get back on his journey. It was in that moment the cat displayed all of his teeth dripping with saliva. He grabbed hold of the bird and swallowed him whole.
You may have heard of this fable before or some variation there of. I am sure that the meaning of it is quite clear to you.
For me, it was quite profound as it helped me to see life in a different light. The problems that I had in my life were not necessarily a bad thing. Like the ice on the bird’s wings they provided the means for me to learn from and grow wiser. Also everyone who has made my life difficult or I believed made my life difficult, whether intentionally or not, had actually provided me with an opportunity to learn, grow stronger and mature. Much like the bird, we don’t recognise the benefits of something done to us (or for us) because of the stench or pain associated with it. Conversely, everyone (or everything) that seemed great and beautiful that wanted to make my life easier wasn’t necessarily helping me. “All that glitters is not gold” as they say. Wisdom and knowledge are derived from our struggles and our ability to accept “what is” and move on from it. Looking back and regretting the choices we have made can be an exercise in futility and a waste of much needed energy.
We may lose faith, stumble and fall from the overwhelming weight of our situations at times but we must continue on. Success and happy endings are never guaranteed but the journey itself is what’s important and how we conduct ourselves along the way. As for the problems we face? There will always be problems but in difficult times I try to reflect on the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “There is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so”. How you view an event is what determines the reality of it to you. I realise that these are merely words and can seem useless to someone who is “walking through fire” so to speak. But in them one may find hope and faith. For without either of these we truly are doomed and we condemn the world around us as well.
I wish everyone good health, strength to overcome difficult challenges and the wisdom to grow and learn from them.