With literacy came letters and postal services. Then the telegraph came along and telegrams passed urgent messages to and and fro; the telephone followed soon afterwards and reduced the costs and urgent messages were overtaken by people phoning up for a chat (and if you couldn’t have a phone in your home, there was one on the street corner).
Even if we were to pause here we might conclude: Humans love to be in touch, and turn whatever method of communication into a means of connecting.
But then came the internet and the world wide web – and we’re just beginning to discover what we can do with this.
Yesterday I was listening to someone in their seventies describe how she was being taught to use a computer she’d been given – she didn’t really want it. She was delivering a brilliant stand-up comedy routine on the arguments she was being fed for messaging and using Skype. Fair to say these weren’t very good, much like the efforts to take any kind of picture on a new camera just to be able to use it: the coffee table, the half-drunk cup of tea, the disinterested cat licking its bum.
This scales up into having hundreds of friends on Facebook (Facebook knows we’ll only connect with a small group regularly*) and a race to get to 100, 500, and 10,000 followers on Twitter, but we love connecting and something quite astonishing promises to emerge from this, ways and means of delivering courage and generosity.
John O’Donahue offers:
Though the human body is born complete, the human
heart is never completely born. It is being birthed in
every experience of your life. Everything that happens
to you has the potential to deepen you. It brings to
birth within you new territories of the heart.
We already know there’s more information in the world wide web than we can deal with, but beginning to appear are connections of hearts, like-hearted people finding each other and dreaming of making a difference in a world of need.
We have another way to do what we’ve always wanted to do as a species: connect.
(*’80 percent of our phone calls are to the same four people’. It’s the way the groups of friends form which is interesting – friends, friends’ friends, friends’ friends’ friends.)