May 7      

Today's quotation:

Technologies of the soul tend to be simple, bodily, slow and related to the heart as much as the mind.  Everything around us tells us we should be mechanically sophisticated, electronic, quick, and informational in our expressiveness-- an exact antipode to the virtues of the soul.  It is no wonder, then, that in an age of telecommunications-- which, by the way, literally means "distant connections"-- we suffer symptoms of the loss of soul.  We are being urged from every side to become efficient rather than intimate.

Thomas Moore

Today's Meditation:

I do all I can to stave off the effects of our supposed technological revolution.  Personally, I don't consider it to be progress in all senses--
in many ways, our technological "advances" represent a form of regression, not progress.  We may have access to more information, but we're not nearly as good as we used to be at talking to other people, sharing our lives and our stories face-to-face, enjoying other people's company up close, or even being contributing members of the society and culture in which we live.

Intimacy is dying rather than growing stronger.  I walk into classrooms filled with 30 students, and I'm faced with silence, not talking.  I used to have to get students to stop talking to each other when I wanted to start class; now I need to get them to put their screens away, because rather than talk to the person next to them, they're checking social media or messenger programs to stay in contact with people who aren't with them.  So much for being "in the moment."

We can be intimate (a term which does not necessarily include the concept of sexuality, as we seem to have re-defined it) with people only if we're willing to share with them, to listen to them, to actually hear what they're saying.  So much of intimacy has to do with the looks in our eyes and the tones of our voices, though--
things that are completely lost with electronic "communication."

We don't have to follow the world's lead.  I have a cell phone, but I leave it at home when I'm with other people.  I have a computer (two, actually), but I do my best to limit my time on it.  I never pull out my phone when I'm with someone I know because I want to give them my undivided attention.  I don't want to become a product of this information-worshipping era.  I want to connect with my fellow human beings during the relatively short time that I'm here.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us prefer screen-based communication rather than face-to-face communication?

How do we share important thoughts and ideas with others?

How do you define intimacy?  How many intimate moments do you experience in your life?

For further thought:

People have two needs:  one is to be intimate, the other is to be independent.  The greatest barrier to intimacy is the fear that closeness will get in the way of independence.  Intimacy is realizing that each person is the custodian of their partner's self-respect.

Mildred Newman and Bernard Berkowitz

more on intimacy



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