Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Part 2: Can society get back to basics & focus on what's real?

Continued from part 1... 

As we lose that critical link to who we are, our bodies, our fellow humans, I think life becomes less valuable. And then it is taken for granted.

I cannot tell you the number of times I see people sit across from one another in a restaurant but are each lost in the screen of their phones. They do not look at each other. They do not speak. They don't even seem aware of their surroundings (I think the current zombie craze is no accident).

I have got to think this escape from the physical world causes stress and confusion and detachment because it is not our natural state of being. It creates a sense of anxiety that if you aren't connected, you're missing something.

The disconnect is even more pronounced in larger cities, I think. Here in a small-town, people still help each other when they're down in very tangible, practical ways on a daily basis. They connect at the grocery store and post office and bank. Things here are very personal. Not so great when your runaway car crashes on a Monday morning, but really wonderful most of the time.

I lived in Salt Lake City once, a city of one million. I knew almost no one. Not my neighbors certainly. I was in a tiny dark apartment, alone and sad, and spent hours on the computer with people I'd never met just to compensate for my lack of connection. I felt like a phantom, a ghost. It was terrible and depressing and I made a point after that to center myself in the real physical world and make friends and hobbies and a life.

There is such a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing something on your own, even as simple as filling a tire with air. When you require a machine to do it for you, that's a hit to your self-worth. And with that hit begins a vicious cycle. You lose confidence, so you turn more to machines, which in turn lowers your self esteem even more. And if you don't have confidence in yourself, how can you feel confident in anyone else?

It's the difference between a candy bar and a healthy full meal. One offers fake comfort with little value, a sugar rush that soon ebbs leaving you drained and dazed. The other gives your body - or in this case your spirit and your soul - what it truly needs. Sustenance. Vitality. Warmth. Nutrition.

Real life and really living.

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