We don’t communicate effectively because we don’t take communication seriously. I recently came to this startling conclusion after, predictably*, listening to the Jim Cornette Experience.
During a recent broadcast, Cornette, a former pro wrestling manager turned social commentator, lamented the passing of pro wrestling as he knew it because none of the new generation knew how to take “the business” seriously. No one had it drummed into their heads “the business” was something where you created a suspension of disbelief. This created a generation of workers who equated matches with video games. Crowds who chant “this is awesome” no matter the actions of the heels or the babyfaces.
The same holds true for communication. We don’t communicate because newer generations don’t take the art of communication seriously. Worse, technology makes it easy for all to simply ignore the art of effective communication. Why attempt the nuance of a face to face conversation with someone, or a simple phone call, when you have texting, email, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter at your disposal?
When it’s simply words on a digital screen, the nuance of speech is gone. Once you stop interacting with others, you lose the ability to read facial expressions and body language. The person receiving your message is left to their own devices to figure out what the hell you meant. Sometimes they’ll lose the message you intended and go for the exact opposite.
That moment of digital interaction as opposed to the flesh and bone connection of human beings is an easy, thoughtless choice. It’s also a dangerous way to live. Those who choose to cut themselves off from society run dangerously high risks of mental illness. That’s because people are genetically social beings. We need human interaction. Losing that means losing a portion of what makes you a human.
Yet we encourage this. It’s now easier than ever to order your groceries through a smartphone and have them delivered curbside to your car. We discourage visits to local retailers because Amazon makes it so easy to pay with one click. And food? Simply have it delivered to your door with a few clicks of a button. No need to deal with pesky waiters and waitresses ever again!
This disconnect also makes it easy for people to live in echo chambers by never experiencing an unpleasant thought, word, or deed. If you don’t like someone’s social media posts, it’s easy to simply block the offender for life. Take issue with something you see at website of your choosing and label it “fake news.” And if someone does something you find “problematic” simply cut them out of your life instead of addressing the problem.
We take communication as seriously as pro wrestlers take the business seriously. It’s just easier for us to take the digital way out instead of having honest conversations about big ideas. This leaves the genetic aspect of our lives to a ruinous waste, but who cares? Better to punch a button on your iToy or say “Hey Alexa, send a Christmas card to my uncle” than actually take time to tell that person how much you mean to them.
Want to know why we’re divided societally? Thank your emoji-addicted pals.
*If you don’t know why this came “predictably,” you’ve not spoken with me at great length.