Hmmmm……

I am a major Greenie, liberal-conservative socialist (who lives off the grid). Or, better put: non-partisan in every way. No party says what I want to hear, no party does what I want them to do and all the parties seem to stumble and fail. Worse for me, I do not trust them. And that is even true for MY own levels of government – it is even worse when trying to relate to foreign governments. So, being in relationship to my ‘system’ or our ‘institutions’ is very difficult for me. Relationship to say, Russia, China or even the bloody US of A is impossible.

Modern 1st world relationships are now mostly just built on shallow, superficial, transactional communications anyway. We message, we e-transfer cash, we order on Amazon, we work-from-home, we give our help through charities! In the old days, relationships were built on shared community tasks, mutual suffering and hardships (like war, famine and natural disasters). It included the influence of family connections, neighbourhoods and regions, religion, occupation and culture but those bonding influences have waned considerably in the last few decades. We don’t have that anymore.

With Covid, we do not even have the option! In-person verbal/written communication has moved away from proximity and the nuances of body language and facial expressions so basic to human intimacy and trust building. If we don’t at the very least have dialogue/conversation/proximity/involvement, we cannot have any kind of meaningful relationship. And, for touchy-feely folks like me, conversation by email, phone and ZOOM fail to make the grade.

And it is getting worse. Zuckerberg and his ilk are leading the push to AI (artificial intelligence). Call centres (a major spoke in the Consumer wheel) defy almost all the communication basics with culture, region, nation, language and commonalities abandoned for ‘canned’ questions and answers. And (a personal aside) I cannot stand FAQs and Chatlines either.

In many ways, it is all illustrated succinctly by modern surveys. The questions asked often have no relevance to the answers the participant wants to give. We fit our opinions on a sliding scale of one to five based on chosen ‘issue’ that is incidental or irrelevant to our real concerns. It is almost as if we designed these surveys to confuse and mislead rather than enhance information exchange. I obviously don’t trust surveys either.

Politicians nowadays know this instinctively and have evolved a form of communication that says nothing and means nothing. They can’t risk real communication because, as elitists, they have no common bonds with the people. No relationship. When they speak, they do not communicate.

Thank God Trump was basically a horrible person, communicator, speaker, writer but he has the instincts and skills of a good con-man. He stayed close to his base. He schmoozed ’em. He kept a human toe in the pool with his rallies. He communicated with skillfully rehearsed body language and buzz-words, slogans and a visceral appeal to those who exist at primarily a visceral level. He was and is a Machiavellian populist. Trump is a populist pig but he could oink and wallow when needed. The pigs understood what he was saying…… They enjoyed his company. But he did that for the con, not relationship. He has no real relationships.

So, where does all that leave us? Well, we have clearly abandoned the ‘getting-to-know-you’ part of relationship these days…..and we have eliminated the ‘need-to-trust-you’ in relationship with e-transfer and Pay-Pal and lawyers. We have, instead, embraced “I-want-your-money” as a sufficient common denominator but it is NOT relationship. It is not community. And I fear that it is so ‘not-strengthening-society’ and that our common-ness is being eroded more and more. We are losing community, society and humanity as we keep going down this road to ‘economic efficiency’. Basically, we are quickly losing touch with one another and the society we built.

Probably nothing says that more clearly than Facebook. There is a medium that requires no personal, intimate, sincere relationship whatsoever and yet it has largely replaced many levels of relationship except for those who work or live closely with one another. You no longer need to know your neighbour – they are on your Facebook page. That’s good enough.

The point: we may have, as a species, shot ourselves in the foot. At a point in history when humanity is facing the largest existential threat ever (the 6th Extinction is the name given), we can’t communicate. We are NOT in relationship. There is little trust and lots of polarization. We do not have a plan. We do not have leaders. And we are running out of time.

“Dave, why say that? What good does it do?”

I dunno…..just a thought, I guess. But, if there is anything to what I just said, then this is the message: get off of Facebook and Twitter as a form of communication. Get off social media as a means of acquiring information (OK, ‘cept for me, of course!). Use cash more. Drop chit-chat and introduce REAL talk that emotes, feels and strives for understanding, empathy and intimacy. But, given the timing, this might be the time to also up the output of ‘real’ messages to your politicians and eliminate any dissembling in your own life. We just no longer have time for BS and ignorance.

10 thoughts on “Hmmmm……

  1. Could not agree more! We have to invest again in real human relations. I start next saturday to sell my home made cider in a local market. These kind of initiatives are popping up the last months. These local markets want to bring local producers again in contact with local people. This not only to reduce carbon footprint, but also to get back to basics…get to know producers, be in real contact with the people who actually buy and eat and drink your products. We visited the market ourselves last week to get a feel for the initiative, and it was so nice to see people actually taking the time to talk with the producers, taste the products and listen to the story behind it. So maybe, just maybe there is a little hope for mankind?

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    • I think so long as we tell the truth, act on it and ‘stretch’ a little now and then for the shy person, alienated or quirky folks (they won’t do it so we have to), we have a chance. I like the ‘public market’ for that. Being nice for no reason sounds silly but dealing with people honestly and with a purpose, can be fun and will rebuild what we are currently losing. Try and encourage the use of cash rather than cards. Barter is even better.
      And THANKYOU Wim for ensuring this was not a total-loss blog.

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  2. David I see you getting more and more cynical as the years go by. I agree with just about everything you have said but within my own experiences helping through our Rotary Club with face to face meetings using zoom whenever necessary raising funds for our projects usually for senior support and youth programs. Food security being our major focus at this time. We support by financing the leadership program at our local high school (200 students). They come to our meetings to show us what they are doing and I am taken away with their maturity and accomplishments. Very few of us at that age could articulate like they can. I find it hard to watch the news anymore so much bad stuff happening around the world. I am reading Jody’s book “Indian in the Cabinet” no more sunny day’s. Check out our website: Stevestonrotary.ca we have out of town members.

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    • Well, you may be right. That is why the feedback in the comments section is so important to me. I need the ‘big picture’ view and, by definition, my view is NOT big. So, thanks. Appreciated. Having said that, cynicism is on a sliding scale. I think the world is expressing some higher levels of cynicism as well. Still, I may be ‘over the top’ so I will check myself.
      No question, I am cynical but I think my observation (this blog) was not cynical so much as just an observation (made with tone, I admit) about the change in communication. I really think the ‘up front and personal’ has been gradually eroded by social media, modern and Covid-prompted isolation and, of course, everything intended to ‘speed things up’. Thanks for input.

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  3. When Facebook cranked up I was curious but didn’t jump in.
    After a year or so I joined.
    I lasted about a month.
    Couldnt be bothered.
    An absolute time sucking experience of inane photos, gossip and bragging.
    See ya.
    Twitter.
    More crap that I have never participated in.
    Facebook seems to be waning in popularity, Hence it’s “rebranding” to “Meta” where you can spend your entire life pretending to be someone else…greaaaaat.
    My God.
    Some nights I pray for a solar flare to wipe out every electronic device on the planet so that people will actually look around and see where they are.
    Everyone seems very angry and unhappy these days even as we are more and more “connected”.
    to everyone else.

    Perhaps it’s time to become Luddites and smash the machines.

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    • Gawd! You are definitely my dark-side doppleganger. I have those thoughts but try to find some light amongst the chaos…..and STILL I am called cynical. Thank you for voicing my dark side. Btw……there is a nice scotch aging in place….with your name on it (literally). I will leave it untouched for another five years…after that…well, l there is a ‘best before date’ on it…I am sure….

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      • 5 years!
        Hell, after two years you can claim salvage rights.
        🙂

        I’m getting busy again.
        Slow-ish Summer at work but with Covid ….. travel was verboten.
        This are really ramping up work wise and trying to get qualified people… is turng my gray hair white…
        :0

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  4. I only know you about 1.5 years, so I have no reference point if you are more cynical now then compared to a few years ago. But I am pretty sure the general situation in the world will have some influence and not only age kicking in. It’s hard these days NOT to be cynical but we have to keep trying to see a silver lining in all this misery.
    As far as the scotch is concerned, in my experience, the scotch will not get any better over the years, but not worse either.
    Such a shame we won’t be able to have that BBQ soon

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    • One and a half years might be a new record, Wim! Well, I am only kidding….I have known Trev for 50 years and Ted for probably 55 or 56. Sid was 50. And NonCon feels practically related-by-blood. You and Tracy are also feeling close…..which is odd since the article is that there is no replacement for proximity…..and you are both on opposite ends of the planet. This comment may be the best answer to the article – people can still feel close despite the ether but I still think that for general living, most folks need to be ‘in person’ a great deal more. Anyways, there will be a bottle of scotch here so long as either Sal or I are alive.

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