I was just rewatching one of my favorite TED Talks from the renowned social psychologist, author, and professor Sherry Turkle.
About six minutes in, Turkle brings up a recurring conversation she has:
“When I ask people "What's wrong with having a conversation?" People say, "I'll tell you what's wrong with having a conversation. It takes place in real time and you can't control what you're going to say."
So that's the bottom line. Texting, email, posting, all of these things let us present the self as we want to be. We get to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the body —not too little, not too much, just right.”
In other words, the digital age has put us in a situation where we are constantly polishing our communication. Now, it can feel intimidating or even thoughtless to share in an authentic, in-the-moment, vulnerable way. We are shrinking who we are to fit a text box — a figurative and literal character-limit — and at the same time, removing the chance for genuine face-to-face interaction.
This is a problem. The bonds we build in our relationships with others bring meaning, purpose, and a deep sense of kinship into our lives. Beyond that, they can help us better understand ourselves.
“...We use conversations with each other to learn how to have conversations with ourselves. So a flight from conversation can really matter because it can compromise our capacity for self-reflection.”
The challenge is, it can be hard to have those deep, meaningful conversations, especially in an age of so much screen time. It’s hard to make the time, it’s hard to open up, and it’s hard to know what to ask.
We are hoping our new Reflection Cards (now on Kickstarter!) help spark more of those dialogues. Today, more than ever, we need to find time to foster deep human connection, and one of the most enjoyable ways to do that is by simply listening and sharing the stories that make us who we are.
As Turkle concludes in her talk:
“We have everything we need to start. We have each other.”
To the magical moments of connection ahead,
P.S. In our Reflections post titled: 'A great conversation.' a few months back — Mike recalled a wonderful interview by Krista Tippett with John O’Donohue. If you missed it and others — consider signing up to get 30 days of the best past Reflections. Sign up here →
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