Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cyber Life

I remember life before cell phones and the internet and as I recall things went pretty well without them, but now that the net is here, things go a lot better, are a lot more interesting and a lot more fun. It’s not just that I was never a very good speller, was mildly dyslexic and got painful writer’s cramps after holding a pin more than five minutes; I felt disadvantaged in the skills of communication. Now with my cell phone, SMS, Skype, Facebook and email I am happily and fluently in touch with friends and colleagues all over the world.

This instant communication is mostly a good thing; personally, I have developed valued friendships in China, Indonesia, North America, Finland, Switzerland, Romania and Germany. It’s easy, when we see that we are on line at the same time we can start a chat; chatting over a long period of time, whether it be via typing, voice or video, can lead to bounded friendships. Further, age difference or gender needn’t influence the friendship, the net is safe, and one cannot catch a disease or need be aware of social stigma.

Friendship, however, whether cyber or one to one, can sometimes be annoying. I have several friends who have not communicated directly with me for well over a year even though I hear from them frequently; they “share” with me their favorite cartoons, or something they read recently. I appreciate their intent, they want to share something that was meaningful to them, I suppose that is a compliment in a way, but after months or even years of only secondhand information from these friends, I find myself longing to hear from them directly, their thoughts in their words.

As I think of those who so rarely communicate to me in their own words it seems to be mostly the older friends, the younger ones seem to have no problem to share there thoughts directly; that’s sad. Logically, one would think the older people with their accrued wealth of experiences would have more to say, more wisdom to share. Perhaps it’s that in their successful lives they have less time to contemplate their unique, personal views on life; if so, that’s even sadder.

What is the value of an accrued wealth of wisdom if it is not shared? Is it possible this may be partially the reason that teachers are asked to retire at the age of 65 in much of the world, logically, wouldn’t the wealth of wisdom be richer in people who have experienced more of life?

Dear Friends,

I thank you for all the articles, essays and opinions you have passed on to me in the last years via the internet, I value their content (most of the time), but I would value far more hearing your thoughts in your words. I am interested in your point of view.

Hoping to hear from you soon.



Tokyo, June 22, 2009