“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde
At one time children were taught to use various modes of speech in any given circumstance. When in the presence of parents, they might use one form while at school another form. When outside with friends, children could break down the barriers and say just about whatever they wanted. The formal speech was used for those in authority, while the respectful courtesy speech might be used with strangers. Today we have no filters used for anyone at any place or situation we find ourselves in. The result is an insensitivity regarding our fellow human beings. It has also resulted in fostering anger, frustration aggression and hurt feelings which diminish self-esteem. Quick replies via technology of all sorts are the current mode of speech. How technology is destroying humanity should be contemplated. It is time for us to control technology rather than technology controlling us.We leave our house feeling happy. We get into our car and drive to the highway and are met with eradicate drivers who immediately proceed to cut us off and honk their horns in the process. Some are on the phone and others regardless of rules are texting. Our smile decreases slightly. When we arrive at our place of employment, we spot a parking place but we are aware of another driver speeding towards the same parking space. We slow down and turn our car into the further space and think to ourselves the walk will do us some good. We are still happy but tense and alert. As we step out of our car to walk the distance to the entrance, a loud blast from a horn startles us to the core and we feel our heart racing. Our head turns in time to see the angry face of the driver who is sporting ear plugs. The driver shouts out the angry words, “That’s how stupid people get killed.”
We are not happy anymore. The tension and aggressive mode seeps through our body. We have a meeting in fifteen minutes and we are not looking forward to it. We enter our workplace and are met with the secretary’s quick mechanical good morning as she busily taps on the computer. Our first thought is to ignore her hello. We begin to retort a reply when we observe her texting. We continue on our way and feel our whole body tightening. Gathering our materials we realize we are late for the meeting. Upon entering the room, a co-worker slaps down some material in front of us and simply says in a commanding voice, “page eleven.” Now we slouch into our chair a bit lower.
The boss looks over at us and comments, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.” We think to ourselves how old am. He shouldn’t talk to me like that. We can’t help the warm feeling spreading across our face. At lunch our co-workers laugh as they discuss a fellow worker in a derogatory manner. We smile to get along but secretly think that could be us they are talking about. We leave the lunch room and a companion demands we hold the door because their hands are full. We feel embarrassed we didn’t notice but we wish they had just asked rather than demanded. Creeping back to our workplace we check the time and frown because little time has passed. It is going to be another long day.
After work we stop at the food store to pick up a few things. At the grocery line we get bumped in the back of the leg. It wasn’t a painful bump but we are surprised the person said nothing. We turn around and see that the person, who bumped us, is on the phone laughing. They glance at us and quickly say, “Sorry”. The person at the register states what money we owe without even a glance. We begin to say thank you for the change but they have already started to ring up the next person.
When we get home we are greeted with a nasty response from our child who is busy texting friends, and a superficial response from our husband who is busy on the lap top. The phone rings and it is the bank. We needed information about changing an account. The person on the other end of the line gives us a spiel. When we question the person they snap a curt response and end by telling us to call another number if we still have questions. They finish with an exasperating reply for us to have a good day and they hang up the phone. Now we wonder if it is us or if the world is crazy.
Children used to respect their parents and their tone and words reflected this. People used to respect each other and their demeanor and speech expressed this. Many people are now running on the ever spinning treadmill. They are too tired to exhibit the niceties of kindness and empathy. Being well-mannered is not so much taught as understood. When we are aware of others and have a regard for others, we exhibit a concern and respect for them. If we continue to fill our lives with things that don’t count and don’t have any significance, then we leave little time left for the things that really do have importance. We don’t have to worry about inventing robots to do our bidding. We are becoming like robots. We are techno savvy at the expense of inner qualities of virtue and morality.
Happiness and kindness are dissipating. Anger frustration and aggression are increasing. All we have to do is observe what is around us. Nobody holds back their thoughts even if they are harsh and cruel. We are aware of the mechanisms of our many devices, yet less and less aware of the workings of the human spirit. The person we are aware of is the one at the end of our technology device. The live person in front of us is of no consequence. If we had a choice of humane qualities or accelerated technology, which would we choose. Most people would likely choose the technology. That is why we are now living in the kind of world we live in. The thought for today is to start reflecting on the loss of empathy and the loss of our connections to other human beings.
“If we would just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel and be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to harsh would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?” Linda Ellis/Mac Anderson