Fragmentation (part 2)

Romantic coupleIn my last post, I discussed the topic of fragmentation, and how advances in technology within the United States have created the unintended consequences of fragmenting our society – breaking it into pieces.

I assert that this is true.  As the population grows while at the same time people become more reliant on electronics and technology to meet their everyday needs, the “connectedness” of community and neighborhood and society will break down.

Recently, I witnessed the tragic sadness of this phenomenon, as I strolled the sidewalk of an urban center in a planned community near Washington, D. C.  The area was newly renovated and lined with quaint cafes that offered outside dining.  The spring evening was warm, cozy and inviting – a truly splendid night to be out enjoying a nice meal and conversation with dear friends.  At a café table, I spied a young couple seated next to each other.  A perfect romantic setting, yet both had their eyes glued to their mobile devices as their thumbs frantically texted on their devices.

It was truly sad.

In my eyes, this young coupled squandered an idyllic opportunity to connect with each other – to create a memory, if only they took the time to savor the moment and be present with each other.  I had to resist the urge to walk over a slap the young man silly for his inattentive behavior.  In their minds, they may have been connecting and communicating with a friend out in the network somewhere.  Yet they failed to embrace the opportunity to connect in the here and now with a beautiful, flesh and blood person sitting adjacent.

This is a foundational aspect of life  – one that technology is not and can not advance: the need to connect with those who are physically near.  Instead our society is rapidly approaching severe fragmentation.  We are disconnected from our family and neighbors.  We are disconnected from the resources of life’s necessities.  Our technology gives an illusion of greater connectivity, but in fact, it is breaking apart true connectedness, relational living, and meaningful communication.

This is a tragic and sadly unstoppable progression unless we as individuals slow down and take the time to speak.

Talk face-to-face with your neighbor, your partner, your child.

Listen and hear her concerns, worries, hopes and aspirations.

Write out a simple note or letter on a piece of paper.  It will make an impact.

Live in the present.

Hold your partner’s hand.

Look into his or her eyes, then you won’t be able to text.

What do you think?  What can you do today to communicate with those near you?

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About John Forrest