Monthly Archives: February 2013

Is Technology Destroying Our Humanity ?

technology destroys humanity“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 hrhash would you be proud of the things they say  about how you spent your dash?”    Linda Ellis/Mac Anderson

Identifying Heroes

identifying heroes“Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

I wonder how many people admire rule breakers, or are inspired by them. At times we perceive them as courageous. The truth is they are seekers of a moment of fame. Recognizing what fame is helps us to understand who deserves it. There will never be any mention of those people who deserve a bit of fame for taking care of their neighbors. Such people watch out for others when the need arises. A wife is left alone when her husband is on a business trip. Neighbors keep a watch. Kindness is when an older woman is left widowed and has a house to shovel out or a yard to clean. Honor is when a neighbor gets a prescription for a sick neighbor. These people are not all friends; they just care about a fellow human being. That is altruistic. They are not looking for anything in return nor do they expect anything in return.

These people who get up every day and go to work for the sake of the family are the famous people. These are the ones media should be focusing on. They make the difference in the lives of others. How many people volunteer time and commitment to others? This goes unnoticed. What we read about,in newspapers and on radios is what is sensationalized. what make headlines and what gets a person on television is being a rule breaker. The person who allows their child to talk back to a teacher because they got their feelings hurt will be all over the news. The person who allowed their child to hold onto the wheel of the car even though the child was underage will be front headlines. everyone laughs and applauds the broken law. The people who kill others because of a job loss or broken heart will have their story printed across the country. What happened to doing the right thing just because it is the decent thing to do? Why do we not give thoughtful hard working people the same acknowledgement and moment of fame? Teachers lawyers doctors store keepers and any other workers who commit a crime are flash focus on TV and radio. Let’s forget abot the others in the same field who honor it daily with acts of charity. Why do we like the negative rather than the positive. The altruistic people will be gone because we are valuing something far different.

We must encourage our children to help for the sake of helping. Many times there is a price tag attached to a kindness. We are not teaching our children to take responsibility of a duty and complete it without a lot of praise, money or both. Some kids and adults take no accountability for their destructive attitudes and actions. Most of us live by the directives, pay me and I’ll do it. Yet there are real heroes all around us. How we began honoring sports heroes and television celebrities while disregarding the men and women who give of themselves continually is ludicrous. Although there are many in sports that live good lives there are just as many who seek the limelight and without scrutiny, are offered up as a role model. The problem is at times they have little to offer regarding ethics.

If media continues to give these people even a moment of fame, we will continue to witness the eye catching exploits of those with less than desirable morals. Maybe it is time to reflect on our  own and our societies values. Time to give praise where it is deserved. I know when we die we will all reap what we have sown. If we chase after elusive people and tenuous items we may find ourselves in a place that is not so beautiful. It may be time to teach our children the power of just being an honorable person. Teach our children the importance of doing something for no repay. The person who will let you pick the first donut, share the last cup of coffee in the pot, help you finish shoveling, and drive you to work when your car broke down, volunteer at soup kitchens, collect money for a charity, volunteer on a fire department and numerous other volunteers are the real heroes. They don’t know it because we don’t value that behavior. We should stop idolizing or giving attention to the rule breakers. Look for the positive proactive people who add empathy and love to the world every day. Let’s shed some light on those people who really do show us how to live.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, nor in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, bit in ourselves are triumph and defeat.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Avoidance Continues the Confrontation

avoidance keeps the confrontation going“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle

At various times we have a conflict with a friend or relative. It is common and is usually the result of either person having a bad day. For a variety of reasons we fail to mend the quarrel. The longer it takes us to amend the clash, the worse things get and the more uncomfortable we feel. What began as a disagreement mushrooms into a battle and then war. Neither party wants to confront the opposing foe. Both partners have their pride to maintain and or their determination to prove they are right. The ongoing struggle is enhanced because our next step is avoidance. You would think that avoidance would create a period of reflection and a desire to correct the problems we have with a friend or family member. This is usually not the case. If we do any reflection at all and if we become consciously aware of having any guilt in the matter, we will run away from our opposition in order to maintain our conviction of our innocence. Most likely neither side is without blame. Even if there are degrees of blame, we can still agree to disagree and let an issue dissolve. The majority of the time we choose avoidance which only hurts both of us, continues the hostility, and eats away at our conscience. We might be relaying our innocence to others then wonder why we cannot sleep at night. Strangely enough, avoidance will promote alienation. Distance dissolves the love we once had and replaces it with feeling a festering wound. Even if we are beginning to admit to ourselves, our own guilty part to the conflict, we begin to fault the other person for the continuance of the disagreement. We absolve ourselves of all blame.

Time passes and erodes our strong passions. The episode loses its’ glamour and we chide ourselves for having been a party to the problematic situation. We avoid the person because we realize it was a stupid argument and we are uncomfortable to have put ourselves in such a situation. It was blown out of proportion. Apologizing is not a choice because it would be humbling. It would make us appear weak. We are genuinely confused about our desires to fix the problem, without losing face, keeping our pride intact, and gaining back some peace. We are never sure about how it will go if we attempt the first approach. If we get rejected we will feel worse about the whole mess. In the end we back down and miss the opportunity.

By avoiding this person, we don’t have to make any decisions. In avoidance we are decimating a once happy relationship. We are paying a dear price for our pride. We must stop avoiding our opposition. By being thrown together at work or gatherings, we have the chance to manage and work things out. Most of the time both people involved in the disagreement are sorry. It is difficult to figure out how to go about making peace. When people are in close quarters, they tend to have more opportunities to fix a broken relationship. The prospects are better and appear to arise without any help. We discover our foe trying to carry a heavy load. Our offer to help washes away a lot of the mud we both slung. We offer a tool or advice to our angry friend. We both laugh at a joke and find ourselves agreeing with each other. It is easy to repair differences when we are in close proximity of the other person. The closer we get to human contact, the easier it gets to resolve the disputes. Suddenly we see our friend or sibling as a person we care about instead of as a stranger. We even wonder how and why the quarrel happened in the first place. We are glad it is finished and we are watchful it doesn’t happen again. We go home, feel good and sleep soundly.

“He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today.” Edward Tryon

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Herbert V. Prochnow

 Author’s website: www.pamreynolds.me