connecting.

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the last few days have left me feeling a bit woo-woo in the head.

the weather around the world is frightening and creepy.

the entire penn state thing makes me want to throw an anvil at … something. but i am impressed with NCAA’s very swift and decisive actions and sanctions. that organization — on the outside — seems to have its act together. too bad the Vatican won’t do the same for its survivors.

sunday was the one year anniversary of the Oslo massacre.

then of course there’s the still stinging news of the shootings in colorado. there’s stuff going on everywhere. that sucks.

then i read this morning on my phone that China’s state-owned CNOOC Oil company had struck a deal to buy a Canadian oil company, Nexen for a little over $15 billon. Facebook’s debut — remember, this is a company that is mostly about nothing which reminds me of Seinfeld’s tenet that it was ‘a show about nothing’ — valued it at about $100 billion, but today’s valuation has it hovering between $50-60 billion. where am i going with this? i’m going here: that i’m concerned about peoples’ and the market’s values of things. i’m thinking we are upside-down: that more people know who Kim Kardashian is than Albert Einstein or Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Benjamin Franklin or Sandra Day O’Connor or Hillary Clinton or Thomas Jefferson or Margaret Thatcher or Magellan or Henry VIII.  i’m concerned that an oil company could somehow –ever– be worth less than a virtual social media company. and i’m concerned that i will be forced to learn Mandarin in my sixties (but that’s a whole other post) …

i wondered last week if people really ‘get’ each other anymore. i was talking on the phone (remember those? we used to hear each others’ voices on them) with a friend about peoples’ insatiable needs to be seen — smartphones aren’t used for calls much anymore, data has outpaced voice since 2009 — and the dopamine-like effect of the >ping!< of the device letting us know that someone had an opinion on something we 1) said or 2) also had an opinion on.  i also wondered whether i myself can be off the grid. i can. i loved it on vacation but i do like to hear about what’s going on in the world because that’s how i stay connected and not aloof or indifferent. but i do wonder about the value of all this data in my head as there is little i can do about any of it.

.  .  .

i was on a date with my husband at our favorite thai place. a young couple walked in and i wasn’t sure they were on a date. but as soon as they sat down they took out their smartphones and started to check them. facebook statuses? text messages? emails? i didn’t hear any noises from the devices, nor did i hear their voices.  they weren’t talking to each other. i was wistful about it. i joked to myself that maybe they would call each other on their phones to talk about what they were doing or he could ask her what she was wearing right then or what they were going to eat or what they should do next.

there is nothing wrong with connecting online as long as you remember the world around you. sometimes we feel invisible, unheard or forgotten. i have decided that it’s because we do it to ourselves, when we feel disconnected (unheard or unseen), we create a hole, a place of existence for ourselves where no one can find us and then when they don’t find us (or don’t bother) we feel invisible or unheard then we get mad; we feel left out or left behind.  it’s weird: be careful of what you wish for. sometimes we create these cycles ourselves.

do you know about Frank Warren’s book PostSecrets (it now has a website)? i remember seeing in that book an anonymous (they are all anonymous, and they are POWERFUL) submission someone wrote about his/her multiple body piercings (paraphrasing): “people think i pierce myself for attention and to get looks. i don’t; i do it to repel people because i feel disgusting.” and i think about the lack of connections or the failed connections or the connections that people want to make but don’t because they are desperately afraid of being rejected.

i sense that people are as self-conscious about feeling good as they are about feeling bad. they don’t want to share when they are feeling good because someone else out there may not be. that’s not really healthy; it’s sort of codependent. the inverse of this of course is the person who is self-conscious sharing when they are feeling bad; that they will bring people down or no one will relate to them. this is also not healthy.  we are all happy and sad, down and up, lost and found, seeking and losing, remembering and forgetting… we need to remember to allow ourselves to feel vulnerable enough to truly connect with someone else.  remember that? remember talking to people? i hope we still do this.

i will admit that i’m down about hearing so much bad news lately. earlier today on my facebook fan page i purposely requested to hear some good news. previous to this request, i pledged to put up positive images or stories (which i do anyway) but i wanted to put those things up as a distraction (not a dismissal or negation) from the sadness that seems to be pulsating throughout the world. i must be careful: i don’t mean to imply that i don’t tolerate bad news. i do tolerate bad news.

i later realized that when i asked for the good news, i was: connecting. i was hoping that someone would lift me up.  and they did because the things they shared with me all had to do with living and connecting with other people. one of the most selfless was about a young man ministering communion to a homebound neighbor. talk about connecting

thank you.

UPDATE: resources in other articles:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/29/internet-addiction-hooked-digital-technology

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