Twenty years ago, I loved the comedy show called Short Attention Span Theatre. Lately, I keep being reminded of it… what has happened to us? Our culture cultivates and rewards having the attention span of a gerbil (I never lived with one, but I am told they are very fickle with their focus!) We have to be in constant contact with our 183 closest friends, but we want to keep it to 140 characters or less. We text instead of talking, message instead of writing, tweet because the world as we know it will cease to exist if everyone doesn’t know what we’re doing at least 5 times a day!
I must confess, I am dipping my toes in the murky waters of facebook these days, and trying to understand the draw, and the meaning of it all. A few times, I have gotten involved in a very interesting conversation thread with some pretty cool folks. But so much of the chatter seems to be just that! Chatting for the sake of keeping up some strange, fragmented sense of contact and connection. I find myself yelling at the names on my computer screen “Don’t you have anything better to do? Just pick up the damn phone and have an actual conversation with an actual person!”
But, I keep checking in on my facebook wall, waiting for something amazing to happen, someone amazing to appear, and want to be my “friend,”or to stumble into the conversation that will change my life… And I keep wondering, what is it about these times we are living in, that we are so drawn to this kind of communication, so addicted to the continual flow of random connections and other people’s stream of consciousness?
And what does it mean to our systems that everything is so rushed, so brief, so constantly being updated? Are we re-wiring our brains to be unable to be calm, to slow down and hold our focus, perpetuating a culturally created form of ADD? In movement and bodywork, we find awareness and healing in the slow unfolding of the body, the gentle flow of energy, the long, luxurious space of breath… Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum movement talks about the effects of speed on our bodies, how it causes our tissue to contract and become more dense.
So does our loss of spaciousness in our connection with each other cause our hearts to become contracted and dense? Or is this new world, where the shyest high school wallflower can have hundreds of “friends,” actually opening our hearts, expanding our sense of our tribe, expanding our sense of who our people are…
Please, let me know what you think. And PLEASE, don’t feel the need to keep it to 25 words or less. I promise to read the whole thing, even if I have to stop several times to check my email!
Yours in peace and spaciousness, Carol