Monday, 8 September 2014

Real three dimension people

People are finding out, more and more that instead of being a help, technology is getting in the way of a rich enjoyable  life.

The following  article describes the life of someone who works from home. Sounds ideal doesn’t it?

However what has happened is that he rarely sees anyone face to face. All his contacts are remote:  through the telephone or using his computer. This deprives him of the rich human contact that one gets from actually being in the presence of another person where communication comes in so many ways: visual - body language, with little revealing gestures that are so expressive: sound – tone of voice,   and something that is possible only this way: touch – maybe a hand shake, a gentle grasp of an arm or all the way to a full blooded body hug.

Ever since humans evolved, over the last hundreds of thousands of years, face to face, physical presence has been the way  we have communicated. Now in the only the last hundred years our technology has robbed us of this emotionally rich way of living together. First the telephone, then television, now by the computer : the use of email and more recently Facebook.

He writes:

Is a decline in face-to-face contact leading to a decline in our well-being?  

"I'm writing this on Wednesday lunchtime. The only face-to-face interaction I've had since Sunday is a 30-minute appointment with a physiotherapist who diagnosed me with tennis elbow."

and continues:

 "...  I can do most of my work from home, and over the years I've chosen to continue doing so, figuring that the wealth of electronic communication available to me – email, text, social media – keeps me sufficiently connected with others for me to feel vaguely human. But when the workload grows, I certainly feel that absence of real interaction, and I know from experience that it can't be assuaged by having a stilted chat with a DHL delivery guy.

"a study this week that found a strong correlation between a decline in face-to-face contact and a decline in our well-being. Engaging with people face-to-face, they say, has a deep and profound effect upon us that's related to our status as a social species. Social media, it appears, isn't that social at all, coming in for particular criticism for its "insidious negative effects".

Electronic communication by text has come in for all kinds of criticism this week. A chiropractic physician voiced his fears over the increased incidence of what he terms "Text Neck", a condition where the practise of hunching over a phone is resulting in the first few bones of our cervical spine bending forward in an unusual way. Then there were arguments over a study into whether instant messaging has a pernicious effect upon children's spelling and grammar skills; the study found that this was absolutely not the case, but many still equate the use of shortcuts, emoji and abbreviations to be causing untold damage to our brains.

I totally agree. My recent experience of having had a stroke has made me very appreciative of direct contact with real people. People that live in our lane, people that I've got to know well well over the past nine years that I've lived back here. They are all, in their  very different ways, very supportive. They really care about me and value my friendship, and have rallied round to do things for me at every opportunity: support that would never be available if I only knew them by email or by Facebook. 

"if we can be of any help: pop in and get us at any time"

We in Ulverston, because of our limited size of some 12,000 people, can get to know people so easily.

We have the great advantage over large towns things like Market day when  chatting groups of two and three down the street are so common.  Our schools enable parents to first get to first get to know each other. Many walk with their children, meeting up with other parents on the way. Then those close to small parks  like Mill Dam Park develop their contacts into the rich friendships that many of us enjoy.

We have something special here in Ulverston: lets keep it that way. 

Small is beautiful.

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