In the Information Era, communication occurs in milliseconds. Distance and the time that it formerly took to traverse, are now moot points. With the click of a mouse and a bit of electronic abracadabra, a message flashes into the world, accessible to all with an e-device. Passwords operate as the e-version of the secret handshake. The politically disenfranchised world-wide utilize the internet to attract, rally and sustain support. Governments have been toppled, change introduced and people have become co-designers of their future. Medicine and education both rely on the web to deliver services and enhance results.
Much of the activity on the information superhighway is more pedestrian. I surf the ‘net regularly—part research, part relationship building and yes, admittedly— part time-wasting. I’ve noticed a trend. The text to picture ratio has shrunk. Significantly. Headlines on the newsfeed pair with attention grabbing pictures. When I click on them to access “the rest of the story,” the link leads to a series of photos accompanied by brief captions. No elaboration, no intriguing article, no further exposition. Much of the message is limited to pictures as in pre-literate times. Images side-step specific words to connect directly to the viewer/reader without the constraints of specific words. There’s a commonality of experience that occurs through the metaphoric link.
But the lack of detail has a cost. I miss the nuanced distinction of well chosen words. Discussion flows as ideas are exchanged and the finer points are dissected. Vivid descriptions convey subtle meanings and highlight aspects of the conversation which might go unnoticed.
Precision creates distinction and elaboration. Sometimes there’s no substitute for that type of accuracy.
Bulls and Frogs
With two recently replaced hips and a body the size of a retired defensive lineman, my brother-in-law lurched into our family room. His ample hips made unintended contact with a prized glass console table. A loud chalk-on-blackboard noise signaled disaster as the thick slab of glass screeched off its fastenings and dropped with a thwack. Hundreds of tiny fragments littered the tile floor. Each one refracted his embarrassment as he apologized profusely for his bull-in-a-china-shop move.
Although we regretted the loss of a perfectly good table, we were able to laugh at the Keystone Cops scenario. Such indelicate moves are familiar territory with our charming but klutzy relative. A couple of brooms and a sweep with the central vacuum cleaned the mess quickly. My hubby retrieved an old piece of slightly weathered plywood to serve as a temporary table surface until the glass could be repaired. Unattractive but functional.
Six months have passed and that plywood still sits there. Now part of the background, the ratty looking wood no longer catches our attention. Utility has supplanted ugliness as the temporary substitution became the new normal. Purchasing a replacement hasn’t made it to the list of things needing attention.
At breakfast my husband commented on how unattractive it is and we both laughed. Each of us guestimated how long it will take us until we finally fix it. Neither of us launched into action.
Another question rose in my mind: to how many things in my life have I become blind? Where am I taking the easy approach and avoiding the hard work of change? An image springs to mind: the proverbial frog in a soup pot who never notices the temperature until he’s cooked alive.
Time to wake up. Set the alarm . Get conscious and get moving.