Sunday, January 4, 2015

The lost art of communication: Mistaking movement for progress.


Have you ever been so desperate to reach your destination that you cut through neighborhoods are back alleys just so that you don't have to stop and "wait for the traffic"? Of course, I'd never make a mistake like that, but I hear that other people do it all the time…

 I've begun to realize that our society is making the same type of mistake with our communication. In this world of endless technology, it would seem that we're surrounded by communication all the time.  However, I'm afraid that our important words are rarely written on paper or spoken into the air for an audience who actually wants to think about them, but rather they're displayed on cell phone screens and computer monitors for audiences who can turn them off and on as the mood fits. And it's making us take our words for granted. 

The social media platforms where we display our words for the world convince us that we don't need to communicate personally with anyone because we can communicate widely with everyone and still feel like we've expressed ourselves--even if we haven't been heard. In the same vain, we respond to funny trivial memes with the same "like" that we give to deep and thought provoking artwork or articles. And we don't have to internalize or memorize any of those ideas because we can always just look them up again if we want to reconsider them. 

Is that what's watering down our real life communication or are we actually valuing thought less as time goes on? Since beginning to consider this issue, I've increasingly noticed that generic platitudes prevent us from investing in and sharing with each other. Whether I'm chatting with a coworker or boss, observing the conversations near me in a store, or even texting with some of my friends, it seems that we 

The time it takes to receive and send these generalities sometimes tricks us in to thinking we've spent quality time with each other.

Aside from the handful of friends who truly know us, do we ever really communicate anymore? Or have we begun texting and talking with the same time-wasting trivialities that we share online? 

Hey, good to see ya there today. 
You too. 
Having a good day so far? 
Pretty much. How about you?
I'm good. Thanks. 
That's good. 
Yeah, it was great seeing you again. 
You too! Hope you have a good week. 
I hope you do you too. 
It was good to hear from you. 
Yep, talk to you again soon!
Ok. Talk to you then. 
--And that accounts for two hours of "talking."

 Sure, sometimes there's just not time for anything else, or we're not sure what else to say to a person we only sort of know. But if we're going to spend so much of our time reading and writing things to one another electronically, shouldn't we commit to really saying something? 

Let's not mistake words for communication. 

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