The other day I received two packages from a friend that contained books written by a well-known theologian. The gift was most appreciated, and I was surprised because my friend included a beautiful hand-written note on a lovely note card.
Note that I said “hand -written note. “
This kind of communication is a rarity these days. We are well-connected to our computers, I-Pads and smart phones. For a lot of people communication can occur exclusively through these mediums. Even people working in the same office space will prefer E-Mailing one another as opposed to walking to another office to talk to someone face-to-face.
I know that there is the argument for convenience, expediency and have information literally at your fingertips that drives our preference for digital communication.
But I must confess that I have excitement when I hold a note in my hands that has been hand-written by someone. This type of communication can convey warmth, thoughtfulness and consideration in conveying a greeting to someone.
Can there be humanity and caritas when communication occurs digitally?
For years now, researchers have talked about how extended exposure to digital screens can generate changes in human behavior, also with their vision. People can find themselves more irritable, more driven, perhaps less patient in receiving a response.
I must confess that I have experienced these feelings when dealing with instant messaging. I know that the sender of the message wants me to respond right away. However, if you are in the middle of another task, it can sometimes become a Herculean effort to respond before the message box disappears.
So what could help us out here? How does one stay more sane?
A good friend told me that they went to an art museum the other day to see an exhibit, and the miraculous thing was that all of the attendees were respectfully looking at the art and were not on their phones.
Is there wisdom to be found here?
If I look at a painting by Van Gogh, hear a Mozart symphony, walk a labyrinth, will my brain fare better and will I be happier?
Anecdotal observations from people might suggest that resting from technology, even briefly, might indeed be a good thing for our bodies and also for our souls.
Abhi Kaisheaar, a Sophomore at Reed College in Portland, Or
“ I find that art, music, poetry, etc., are great ways to bust stress. I find that writing at the end of the day is a great way to unwind. “
Perhaps, it doesn’t have to be either/or i.e. technology vs. no -technology, but maybe what could help to improve the human condition would be a better blend of both.
Who knows, our mind and our inner life might thank us.
May it be so.