The Age of Ex-communication

We are living in an age of excommunication (I mean, ex-). Like, you’d think people are communicating all the time. Right? No problem. They do, on their devices. This isn’t real, deep conversation. It’s more like this:

We should make a plan sometime.

Ok, when?

Not now, I’m tired.

To plan?

Yeah, talk later.

‘K.

This is not communication. It’s not even planning. Perhaps it’s post-communication. Because really good communication is face to face or second best, face-time to face-time. Planning is a poor cousin or unrelated to deep communication. In my family, it may involve a long chain of emails to discuss a gathering at some future time and place when everyone can congratulate themselves that the plan actually happened or didn’t happen. Deep communication free of the intrusion of planning is elusive, in which case talking on the phone can be a delightful surprise.

Ah, the seduction of electronics. Take a day (or a few hours) to excommunicate your devices. Observe this day as a sabbatical, Shabbat, or the Sabbath. And after a good talk, observe the satisfaction of silence and the appreciation of being heard.

Can we reduce our electronic footprint by just plain talking? What can be gained? Try it for once and get hooked.

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About sheilaklewis

As a writing coach, meditation teacher, writer, and academic tutor, I'm passionate about words and the silent spaces between words. In this context, I run book clubs and writers' groups where the resonance of carefully crafted words can spark readers and writers to share their own stories. Connecting through conversation; making memories matter; embracing editing and revision, and imaginative wordplay are some solo and collective outcomes. I came to what I call my "Meditate Write Now" practice after years of art-making, writing grants, curriculum, children's stories, and more. Meditation kept my mind from meandering too far off point and also led me to write from the still point within. May our paths cross in creative journeys across time and internet connections! Other details: My husband and I are the parents of two amazing sons and one daughter-in-law, and smitten grandparents of Micah (born December, 2013). I don't drive, and have lived in the same apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, for too long.
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4 Responses to The Age of Ex-communication

  1. Lia says:

    Sheila – my emails are usually limited to 3 lines and I only communicate via email with my very close friends. I also belong to no social media – no Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or anything else. And I do take sabbaticals from my computer – reluctantly, as I am currently job hunting – and am surprised how much more there is to do around ‘the way. I particularly like the telephone, and often have long discussions with friends in Raleigh, Dallas and Chicago. I think the “illusion” of intimacy created by these devices is one of the boondoggles of the century, and will have sociological ramifications too horrifying to entertain for the generation coming up. My two cents ! Lia

  2. AJ says:

    Hi Sheila: I was invited to do a guest lecture at the UofMN in the Soc/Anth department on establishing community among people. I talked about having a great and stimulating meet-up place, talking directly to others and bringing in wider community participation by being inclusive. All important. But I contended that the most important of all is what I call F2F…or face-to-face…so I really like that concept. But I took it a step further in my lecture. I suggested people look in the mirror and have a F2F with themselves for when you know yourself, you are a better communicator and community member. AJ

    • sheilaklewis says:

      Wow, AJ, how cool your talk must have been. And on the same page as those of us who still prefer F2F. Congratulations! Amazing that what we took for granted now has to be taught. And everyone, go see the fun movie “The Intern” for more on that–Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro bridge the communication/age gap with great charm. Sheila

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