We live in a culture that increasingly embraces connectivity. The melding of outward disconnection with a simultaneous 24/7 digital conversation is both ironic and mildly disconcerting to those of us not permanently attached to this digital umbilical chord.
Social niceties and courtesies are becoming severely diluted. I recently navigated the labyrinth that is Victoria Station and found myself marveling at the mass commuter hive of activity and yet clinically barren of human interaction.
Each earnest participant on this treadmill journey seemed to be lost almost trance-like in some parallel universe, having engaged some sort of automatic homing device to skilfully navigate the human traffic.
Ipods at full volume, newspaper in one hand, steaming coffee in the other and midst this madding crowd a complete absence of eye contact.
In this new world it would seem arcane and redundant to distract the herd by smiling, excusing yourself or being so bold as to offer some poor lost soul assistance.
The pause for thought prompted me to ponder the irony of this mass disconnect in a square mile comprising of innumerable heartbeats. I wonder if this immersing in our digital universe comes at a price.
A belated message? We are fed a diet of tabloid sound bytes that morphs into pop culture. We celebrate the superstars of the quarter minute and behold their ascension to the pedestal of the extraordinary. Meanwhile the masses despite more capacity for creative genius at their fingertips become ever more ordinary.
Be extraordinary. Try it for a moment. Find a voice, not one that is part of a chorus, just a unique sound. Herds provide comfort and security, but equally they are easy to shepherd and lead to some one else’s tune.
The problem with aspiring to the extraordinary of course is that peer pressure can be hard to ignore. Fitting in is the name of the game and being bold requires a little bravery.
- A random act of kindness
- stopping to offer assistance even though you’re late for an engagement with a cappuccino
- responding to others tweets despite an overwhelming urge to share your fascinating thoughts to the world
- checking out your loose facebook connections and making a comment even though they’ve never bothered to acknowledge your birthday
- sending the secretary a bunch of flowers anonymously just to say thanks…..
Being extraordinary is not earth shattering, but can be profound in so many ways. I defy you to take a step away from the societal norm even briefly and be extraordinary and not feel a sense of enervating connectedness that lingers.
It may not be extraordinary but if you’d like to shake your urge to completely disregard this scribble and leave a comment that’d be great!!
Here’s hoping ordinary or extraordinary life’s unfolding well for you!
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