Our Modern Intimacy

Modern intimacy. #tech #people #intimacyI’m guilty of going somewhere and interrogating my phone – who isn’t in this day and age? – yet it seems you see people going out together only to stop and get coffee somewhere so that they can sit closely, a faux intimacy, checking up on things and not interacting at all.

Worse, they may be using the infrastructure to share information with each other – bouncing off of servers, perhaps even internationally, so that they can share information.

Have we forgotten how to make eye contact, to talk?

And these are typically the same people who do not respond to messages in a timely manner. It makes one think they are studying articles on how not to communicate.

Yet I myself am guilty at times, when things have run their course and the person with me no longer holds interest for me. This is why I’m usually alone – people generally bore me quickly – but when I’m present, I am completely present.

Hedgehog 2.0.

927A9660.jpgSchopenhauer wrote about the Hedgehog’s Dilemma:

One cold winter’s day, a group of hedgehogs crowded together for warmth so as not to freeze to death. However, the pain from the mass of spines soon caused them to separate again, until the cold forced them back together, and thus they continued, moving from one source of discomfort to another, until they found a distance that allowed them to live but without the benefits of the full warmth of community.

To build on this, the longer a hedgehog stays out of the community, the longer the quills. It may not have started as a misanthrope but rather an explorer, maybe it was shunned because it was different, but over time without the issue of intimacy to contend with, it grows longer quills which makes it a misanthrope even when it tries not to be.

There are entire generations growing up more comfortable with a cold flat screen than other humans at this point.

Let that sink in.

Temporal Progression.

Future Past + PresenceWe are surrounded by people who think time is their master when, really, it’s quite the other way around. We drive time, we push it forward with our every breath – and how we spend it is telling.

Back in 2006, I lived a year without a watch – on purpose. It changed me; I slept better, I ate better, I was in all actuality more productive once I stopped trying to be busy but instead productive.

This past year, I saw it quite a bit. I stayed with some people for a period, and while I did I would check in and do things like ask if they wanted pizza when I returned home. They never said no, and yet when I returned they would show up, grab a slice of pizza and leave – leaving me instead to stare at a box of pizza minus their slices. The idea of spending time together seems to be alien for people only a decade younger than myself. Maybe it’s just me.

These past holidays, I saw people I don’t often see, and while sitting there I found myself watching them stare at their phones. The last visit, I found myself not only staring at my phone but grabbing a book to occupy myself while they stared at their phones. On driving home, after repeatedly going out of my way to see them, I decided that I wouldn’t let that happen again. It’s a waste of…

We’re alive, drawing breath, chasing rainbows most of the time because people before us told us we should. We ignore what’s right in front of us; when the people in front of us are not relevant we’re in the wrong place. When the people in front of us don’t think we’re relevant, we’re not in the right place.

If we pay attention, we have more time than we think. For example, I have more time to write than I think – always – not measured in seconds, minutes, or hours, but instead in what I can write. When we as a society figure out how to transcend time, and be in the right place at the right time, the moments we spend will have value. Yet generations have grown up in front of flat screens, just as my generation grew up in front of televisions.

This, some think, is progress.

The Dilemma

Evil Ice

Wrapped in the
sharpened quills of our insecurities
We twist through life
Wishing only not to bleed.

And if we dare bare ourselves,
Dare drop our quills
We twist through life
Wishing only not to bleed.

We all bleed-
The most honest thing we do
And we grow quills to
Cover our scars.