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Realizing Our Potential As Humans: A Moment With Bill Reflection
One Idea Born from Two
This article was hatched from two separate and random occurrences that happened yesterday, two triggers that when pulled shot this article from the barrel.
The first was an article about actress Shailene Woodley, the star of the soon-to-be-released movie “Divergent.” In the article Ms. Woodley, wise at the tender age of twenty-two, mentions that she not only does not own a Smart phone but she does not own a cell phone either. She goes on to say that she is worried that people are not truly communicating anymore, that most forms of communication are depersonalized….forms like cell phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook and others. She said that she wanted to improve her interpersonal skills and by doing that she hoped to increase a sense of community in her immediate circle of life.
The other catalyst for this article came from a video I was watching of Leo Buscaglia giving a speech about being human. In it he explained that he came from an Italian family where hugging and kissing and touching were forms of communication. He called it “communicating by Braille” and that it may not be socially acceptable but it is a vital part of truly knowing another human being….that touch is vital for all human beings.
And those two seemingly random items produced the idea for this article.
Have You Ever?
Try this social experiment the next time you are out and about. Walk down a busy street and count the number of people who make eye contact with you. This first came to my attention on a visit to Washington D.C. back in 1997. I was blown away by the number of people who did not SEE me as I walked past them on the street. Their eyes were straight ahead or they were looking down at the sidewalk, but rarely did anyone actually look at me. I found it so strange. I had not experienced that in my hometown of Olympia up to that point, but I can say today that it is also the norm here in Olympia in the year 2014. It is as though we are invisible to others and I find it quite disconcerting.
A Flash to the Past
I am a toucher. I am a hugger. I say that proudly. These traits were passed down to me by my family. My relatives were always touching each other while talking; a touch on the arm while making a point; an arm around your shoulder; a full-wattage hug; these are things I knew as a child and they are things I do today. If we were to meet in the future I would smile at you and give you a hug, because to me that shows how happy I am to finally meet you. I want you to know that you are important to me, and I want you to know that I care about you as a human being.
I remember our neighborhoods having picnics during the summer where everyone was invited. I remember neighbors watching out for each other, and talking to each other while doing outside chores. I remember walking to our local shopping district and shopkeepers shouting hello to me as I passed by their stores. I remember complete strangers looking me in the eye and saying “hello, how ya doing?”
And all of those acts were acts of one human being reaching out to another and truly communicating.
How Does Dehumanization Happen?
I suspect, and believe me I do not have some scientific study to back my beliefs, that this dehumanization is happening because fear is on the increase in our society. These are scary times for sure. All we have to do is pick up the newspaper or turn on the news and we are inundated with horrific examples of man’s inhumanity towards man. Those acts are followed by more acts, and we absorb them all, and we internalize them, and slowly, ever so slowly, we take actions that will protect us…and those actions all too often include emotional fortresses that yes, keep out the danger, but also keep us from truly communicating with others and knowing others on more than a surface level.
If not fear then we are too busy as a society to reach out and truly know someone else. We are racing about willy-nilly, texting on the run, chatting on cell phones while we drive, faxing this and emailing that, and there are jobs to do and errands to run and chores to finish and my God, where does the time go, and there certainly is not time to stop…..take a deep breath…..and really get to know another human being.
What This All Leads To, of Course, Is…..
Well, what this all leads to is a dissolution of community. Every man for himself as we go about our days in our little cocoons, then drive home to our fortified neighborhoods with the security warning signs in our windows, and we eat a quick meal and then catch up on the latest insanity on Facebook….but we never really reach out and touch someone, literally or figuratively.
I have said before and chances are good that I will say again….probably a thousand more times….the solutions to our problems in society will not come from our politicians passing meaningful, or meaningless, legislation. No, the solutions to our problems must come and will come from within our family and our immediate community. If we are to right the wrongs in society then it must happen at a community level, people coming together and working with each other for the common good.
And that can only happen if we lower the drawbridge, walk out among the masses, look them in the eye and become human with them.
How many people do you think will actually call me?
Realizing Our Potentail As Humans
Let me be as clear as possible on this point. I understand there will be those who disagree and I respect that….but I know I am right. LOL
We will never fully realize our potential as human beings until we become willing to form meaningful bonds with others. Until we learn to do that we will simply be holographic images of what we could be.
Is it frightening to lower our defenses and allow someone to see inside of us? Most definitely! Are we risking ridicule by doing so? Oh yes indeed we are!
What a waste of life if we do not.
Let’s try an experiment and then I will let you go for today. Here is my phone number….360-878-1757…I invite you to call me today and let’s take the first step towards a real human connection.
Now I know for a fact that most of you will not call me because you don’t want to bother me, even though I have just told you how important this is to me. Some just won’t want to make the effort because, well, he’s just some guy in Olympia and it’s not really important and you don’t have the time to waste and hey, there’s a soap opera on that you really want to see and…..
But for those of you who think this is important, that we begin to form community…that we begin to form strong bonds with others….that we finally come to realize our full human potential…pick up your cell phone and give me a call. I would love to chat and know you better. We may not communicate by Braille, but it will be the next best thing.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)