This week I was talking with a very educated and sharp-minded man in his eighties. He was trying to download some official papers and got quite frustrated by the experience.
So many transactions of many types are now available online, and people are often actively discouraged from connection by other means, such as phone calls or going in person to see someone.
Communication is happening often by text messages and emails, even in non ’official’ communication. In fact, people are once again often discouraged by some not to actually ring and speak, but to ‘text’!
We communicate in so many ways.
Manner and tone of voice
Manner of physical stance when speaking
Physical distance between speakers
Eye contact, etc.
Sending an email or a text is a far cry from speaking to someone. Speaking on the phone, or even by Zoom or Skype, etc. is nowhere as effective as being physically present with someone.
It is so easy to react very quickly to an email or Facebook message, or some other technological connection. This can result in responses not being balanced or well thought out. A lot of damage can result from a quick reaction.
I remember clearly seeing a group of young people at a bus stop all with their mobile phones, and not talking to each other.
I know of parents who are very worried because their children are in their bedroom playing games online with their friends. They are not connecting with friends one to one in person. They are certainly not connecting with their families enough.
Are we slowly losing the art of full human connection?
Are we losing something of our humanity?
With the arrival of the Coronavirus and the social distancing and isolation that this has brought with it, is all this now compounding?
Loneliness is a very destructive thing. It can lead to tragic consequences in human beings.
We are social beings, and good sound human interaction is necessary for well-being.
Of course, it is important not to panic and become overly anxious because of these challenges.
As Christians we are people of hope. We believe that God is always intimately present to us. We are never alone! We need to continue working together more than ever, finding effective ways of dealing with these challenges.
It is very helpful to make conscious decisions of being extra sensitive to each other’s needs. We all need someone to talk with at times. Being Christian is about being fully human. God came to us as Jesus Christ, bringing to a fullness our humanity.