Communication

It seems to me a great deal of the digital industry creates toys to convince consumers to buy. Of course, that’s easy to do, but what happened to inventing tools to actually help people live and work better? How is producing iPads/iPhones/tablets/SmartPhones/whatever-the-latest-gadget making life better for anyone? I see a younger generation full of socially inept, environmentally unaware people wandering around terrified to not be “connected” to devices that actually separate them from their actual environment. I see that people addicted to being “plugged in” (euphemism from pre-wireless days just days ago) also have difficulty adapting and solving everyday problems.

Yes, I use a computer to write and publish. Yes, I participate in social media, but it takes very little time from my day. And I’m still using the computer I bought years ago. I still use my television for watching programs and movies, and sometimes I go to the theater. I don’t have a big screen TV or even a flat screen TV because my old one works just fine. I get my phone messages on the phone, because if I’m watching a program on TV, I can hear the phone ring. I don’t need a message on the TV screen to remind me. (I’m sure this is useful for the hearing impaired.) And I don’t need my phone messages in my email, because it’s good form to return communication in the manner in which it was received. 

If you’re with someone while texting/phoning/whatever, you’re not really with that person. I believe people deserve to be paid attention to over digital devices. If you’re on the phone with someone while you’re on the computer with someone else, you’re not paying full attention to either person, which means there’s a problem with communication. Just because people on TV do these things, doesn’t make them the smartest way to live. TV shows are supported by advertising the gadgets. Watching TV passively isn’t very smart.

Please don’t ever try to text me, because it’s blocked from my phone, which I only use as a phone. I have a camera if I want to take pictures. I have email if I want to communicate online. And, yes, I still send cards and letters, handwritten on paper, through the old-fashioned mail. My point is, if you really want to communicate with someone, face to face in the same place is best. There’s this thing called body language that doesn’t come across well in video and not at all in all other methods. In a phone call, you can hear inflections and tones of voice that give you clues not available online. Handwriting also has it’s own form of communication. When you’re familiar with someone’s handwriting and it changes, you don’t get that online.

I guess we’re just going through a phase of selfishly consuming for passive entertainment purposes. I suspect even work is expected to entertain now if the work is of a digital/virtual nature, but thankfully there are still people on the planet living and working in the real world. Special thanks to all those working to create sustainable communities so that future generations can enjoy living in the real world of beauty and the physical senses. And thanks to all those working to help people learn to solve problems in the real world, get along without violence, and move toward peaceful solutions.

When we pay attention to our planet mates (all other life forms), we learn how much of their very existence is sheer communication. Without the communication that takes place in our own cells, we couldn’t survive. Real communication is active, not passive. And virtual sports games don’t exactly give you the benefit of real exercise or human interaction (not to mention the other creatures out there besides human). I know the internet has done some wonderful things for communicating around the world, but we can still live without it. Maybe we’re only really living and communicating with our actual environment when we’re not online. Real life is at least four dimensional. If computers can breathe for those unable to on their own, that’s different. But I live and breathe with or without the internet, and for that I’m extremely grateful.Image

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