We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

High Tech, High Touch

Written By: Charles - Apr• 17•20

Spring and the Corona Luna

Friday gratefuls: Kate on coming to bed last night, “I’m super tired.” She stayed for the whole virtual board meeting and long range planning session. The snow. About a foot of new whiteness. Black Mountain white against blue. Cold weather. Good sleeping. Unorthodox on Netflix. Good high intensity workout yesterday.

The Third Wave. Alvin Toffler. 1980. He said in it, high tech, high touch. That stuck with me. What he meant was, the more we use high technology, and it’s gotten higher and higher since 1980, the more we will want in the flesh interactions with others. We’re living through dramatic proof of his prescience.

Zoom. Went from 10 million users to 200 million over the first weeks of stay at home orders. Virtual seder. Online mussar class. The clan gathering: Mary, Mark, Diane. Old friends: Mark, Tom, Paul, Bill. About to arrange a gathering for the Johnson sisters. Kabbalah class. All zoom. Woollies, too.

The sessions with fewer folks work better for me than the larger ones. The seder was meaningful and Rabbi Jamie used breakout rooms to help, but it still felt distant. Although, the same number of people at round tables at Mt. Vernon Country Club would have been distant, too. Yet not. Bodies are important. Just their presence is reassuring. 53 people

Mussar has fifteen. It works well, but I wonder how well it would work if we didn’t already know each other. The Kabbalah class works, but I preferred the one day I drove into the Kabbalah Experience space. Since I didn’t know these folks at the beginning, I rarely knew the context for their remarks.

The best are the Clan gathering and the Old Friends. But, again. These are folks I know well, over periods of many years. The Woolly sessions lie somewhere between these two and the others.

They are way better than nothing. I will stipulate that. I can see facial expressions, some body language, and it keeps us in touch with each others lives. All good.

But. I miss the actual flesh. Don’t want it to sound weird, but the embodied person is different from the virtual one. If we ever get holograms in wide use, I imagine it will be the same. We’re pack animals, like dogs, and an important part of the pack experience is physical presence.

As a temporary measure, the chance to interact even on screen is wonderful. It alleviates the worst part of physical distancing, staying at home: feeling shut in. Over time though I would miss the chance for casual moments off from the group, for hugs, for shaking hands.

Even though only yesterday I wrote about a personal stay at home order for a year, I find regular time with other folks, especially those I know and love, important. Like most introverts I find interaction with others draining, so I have limits. Not getting close to them these days.

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