Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Social Creatures? Yah right!

Have you ever entered a boardroom or classroom several minutes earlier than the established start time, expecting to be the first one there, but found that someone else had arrived before you?  How about the reverse, with you showing up first?  In either scenario or other ones like these, what do you do?  Do you say “hi,” or do you just do your own thing, acting as if no one is there?

In my case, I typically extend a greeting to the other party/parties.  However, quite frequently, I get nothing but silence in return.  I have witnessed similar situations involving others; I’m not the only one that doesn’t get a response.  In fact, not only does no exchange take place, but I get the impression that people are purposely ignoring one another!  What’s up with that?!

Over the course of my life, in numerous books and other writings, I have come across statements that suggest that humans are “social creatures.”  To elaborate on this point, consider the following quote:  

“Human beings are social creatures.  We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others.  We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.” -Atul Gawande

Given my experience, I get the impression that there is nothing “normal” of human beings!  I dare say that in today’s world, humans are far from being the social creatures that are described in the quote.  It believe that, in many ways, we are actually becoming antisocial creatures.  You don’t believe me?  Consider the following…

It is highly likely that we have “encounters,” in their various forms, with other people most every day of our lives.  However, in this day and age of technology, many folks go around with some type of electronic device (tablet or phone) “glued” to their hands.  Likewise, many others have earphones or earbuds stuck on or in their ears.  Some would argue that these devices serve to keep us connected to others.  Others would say that they serve as shields, devised to keep those who are right beside us at a distance.  I surmise that the more “technologically savvy” we become, the more we are distancing/separating ourselves from our neighbours.

So what are we to do about it?  I for one am behind an approach that leads to direct interaction and the need to make eye contact and exchange with one another.  Such an approach serves to make connections that bring us together.  So, get rid of those gadgets designed to control us and pay attention to the living creatures all around you!  Don’t let anything come between us!  But, if after showing the initiative no one else reciprocates, just do what I do: Blame it on fast foods.

- B. J. T. Pepin

1 comment:

  1. One of my cousins sent out an invitation to a phone party saying bring your own cell phones.I told him I didn' have a cell phone but I did have an iPad and asked if I could come too...he said yes. bah,ha,ha.