“I was surprised to get your call. No one calls me anymore. I get 200 emails in 24 hours. I come to an office and respond to emails all day,” said the high energy executive. He looked out the window from his office overlooking Madison Avenue with ennui.
I still call. But few call me back. They respond with a text or an email. I consider it rude to not return a call with a call. And I am not a luddite. I am not.
But soon, without talking, all my friends will become strangers, as Larry McMurtry said so many years ago.
We have all seen the 2010 statistics. Text has overcome voice in frequency and volume.
In her brilliant book, Alone Together, Sherry Turkel, Founder and Director of MIT’s Technology and Self, illumes the central issue: texting is less painful than a call. A voice transaction might suggest surprise, or worse, awkwardness. It also helps that every time you get a text, the brain gives you a hit of serotonin which in turn releases dopamine.
Actor and director Stanley Tucci, a friend since we did Big Night in 1996, told me that great acting was not about delivering the line but filling in the pauses between the lines.
“That’s where the mystery of life resides,” Tucci said, “in the silences and pauses.” Without verbal interplay, how can we go to the deeper levels in a relationship which silence provides?
We are all so very busy with our busy lives we don’t realize that technology is deconstructing us.
I picked up TIME magazine yesterday and saw that man is on target to merge with the machine by 2045.
Sir Arthur C Clarke, the brilliant author of 2001, once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
I love technology. I suffer from gadget lust like most males. But not at the cost of awkwardness and studied reflection, qualities that make us human.
Winston Churchill said that man shaped the buildings, and then the buildings shaped us. So it is with technology. Technology is reshaping us…rather like….er… “magic”.
Don’t call me a Luddite, but call me old-fashioned. May the other voice at the end of the line always be capable of just a little bit….uh….of…a tad of awkwardness.