As part of an assignment for class, I've been reading an excerpt from Goleman's Social Intelligence. The following quotes are at least part of why I've been trying to watch less television and decrease the amount of time I'm distracting my brain with various forms of technology:
"The one-person shell created by headphones intensifies social insulation. Even when the wearer has a one-on-one, face-to-face encounter, the sealed ears offer a ready excuse to treat the other person as an object, something to navigate around rather than someone to acknowledge, or at the very least, notice... To be sure, from the iPod wearer's perspective, he is relating to someone--the singer, the band... his heart beats as one with theirs. But these virtual others have nothing whatever to do with the people who are just a foot or two away... To the extent that technology absorbs people in virtual reality, it deadens them to those who are acutally nearby. The resulting social autism adds to the ongoing list of unintended human consequences of the coninuing invasion of technology into our daily lives."
Don't take this completely wrong, because here I am typing away into a virtual community---hoping someone is willing to spend a moment here. Connections via the internet are neither inherently bad nor are the film/tv/music industries. It seems to me that one of the bigger problems is our lack on intentionality. How many times have I simply sat down and let a few hours float by when I had planned on doing something more productive. Are there days/weeks that I've watched hours of re-runs only to realize I wished I would have found something more fulfiling to do with that time? After spending an evening with my husband in front of the TV, my brain has shut down. I may have sat next to him, physically nearby, but I cannot cultivate anything meaningful to say that would bridge the gap between us. The land of my mind would rather not be barren, it would rather reach and grow, and connect with the people around me.
Goleman includes a wise insight from T.S. Eliot, written in 1963; the television "permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome."
So, if I don't have much to say for a while again... I hope it's because I'm filling my brain with a greater percentage of books and relationships--and on purpose!