In 1990, Faith Popcorn wrote a book in which she predicted that a trend of the future would be “cocooning”—the act of insulating oneself from a world which is perceived as dangerous, distracting, unfriendly, or otherwise inhospitable.
Well, the future is now as they say, and it seems to me that Popcorn hit the nail right on the head. More and more of us struggle with a growing sense of isolation and loneliness.
A lot of it is pace of life, I think. When I was about to move to northern Virginia, I met someone who had just moved from here. “Why would you want to move to northern Virginia?” he asked. “That place is a ghost town. Everybody leaves before dawn to beat rush hour to get to work. They work long hours and with their commutes don’t get home until night. You’ll never see them!”
While those words turned out to be something of an overstatement, they are not without truth. And the sad part is, I’ve found it awfully easy to fit right in and run with the rest of them.
Still, I firmly believe that even in our “brave new world” one of the deepest human needs is the need for community. And that’s where blogs come in; they offer a way of connecting that is well suited to this accelerated and accelerating society in which we live. Interests are shared; feedback is given and received; communication takes place.
Instead of the world shrinking down to our remote little lives, the world opens before us like it never has before. Possibilities expand as does the pool of people with whom we can interact, and from whom we can learn.
Personally, I think that’s great. There is an excitement—a robust energy—in the blogosphere I can’t deny.
Still, it seems to me—and I could be wrong, maybe I simply haven’t blogged enough yet to really understand—that a danger lurks here as well: the potential for our blogs to become one more thing that is all about us when what relationships really need to thrive is for us to devote ourselves to others.
Soren Kierkegaard once told the story of two men. One called his wife during a slow moment in the day and said something to the effect, “Hello honey. I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment, so I just thought I’d call you.”
The other was up to his eyeballs in work (up to his elbows in alligators was how they’d say it in FL), with a million things that really needed to be done. But he let them all go, picked up the phone, and called his wife. “Honey,” he said, “I’ve got a lot of stuff I should be doing right now, but I just wanted to call and tell you how much I love you.” And so it was that with all he had to do, he never lost sight of the one thing that was most important.
Is there an analogy here? I guess that's for each of us to decide...