Connected?

January 25, 2010

A few weeks ago, drowning in emails and unreturned phone calls, I decided I was just going to focus on keeping up with those two aspects of my life. “I have lots of people I’m connected to,” I thought, “so I will just really appreciate that and keep up with everyone and their messages.”

So I did. For about 12 days I answered the phone the minute it rang. I responded to emails immediately. I read or watched everything that people sent to me. I even got on my Facebook page and Twitter to make a few comments.

At the end of the 12 days, I had caught up with my family, knew what the House of Representatives was saying about the Health Care bill, watched umpteen videos touting war and our right to stomp on other people, read dozens of Maxine cartoons, all sorts of sappy, sentimental pieces involving some great lesson of life, and was turned off by the steady flow of gross sexual or blatant political bullsh– designed to create fear and division among us.

As I read or watched each new communication, I would think about the person who sent it and ask, “Is this what you want to contribute to the reality we share? Is this what we want to share with each other?”

Finally, I had to stop. The laundry was undone. I hadn’t really made a decent, nutritious meal for myself because I was eating on the fly, at the computer. Almost no writing had been done. Financial reports for my non-profit corporation were unfinished. The bills were unpaid, and a toilet that was running constantly because it needed a new refill valve was ignored. It was time to ignore my “connections” and go do some productive work.

I was left asking, “Are we so caught in burgeoning connectivity that we’re failing to be productive? Do we think all that connectivity is a substitute for a clean, well-ordered home? Will we be able to justify our lack of productivity by saying we were busy tweeting or watching bogus videos?

Our food system is failing, the pharmaceutical companies are out of control, the banks and financial system are still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and manufacturing has all flown away to Asia…but we are all well-connected! The question is, “To What?” And will we be satisfied with all that connectivity when we no longer have the means to make components for either war or toilets?