Monday, June 9, 2014

Pen Pals

Yesterday my daughter was reading letters that her pen pal had written her bringing me back to all the letters I used to write back and forth to a few people as a child. Having a pen pal is pretty much a lost past time with the technology we have these days which is sad because I believe that drawn out dialogue (especially at a young age) teaches you how to converse. Last week I was talking to a guy about video games which I know very little about and while the conversation eventually transitioning to computers which I used to build and repair for a living, I was still able to dialogue because I had learned how to have a conversation at an early age. 

My mother used to tell me that having a conversation is like tennis: you hit the ball to them and hopefully they return it back and you continue to volley. It's not that you can't learn the art of conversing without a pen pal but the written form requires more intentionality thereby engraining the habit deeply. I do know a little about many topics which aids in being a good conversationalist however, knowing how to ask questions like a 20/20 reporter was instilled mainly through the couple pen pals I had as a child. 

I love technology but it's seriously eroding our societies ability to interact with people we don't immediately have something in common with. Instead of bringing us together, technology is further segmenting us into groups of similar people through algorithms and preferences. Like I've said before, I enjoyed riding public transit when I lived in LA because it forced you to interact with other humans you may not have normally chosen to be around. If you want peace in the world, you can't just hang with people who are like you. Shake  it up and get to know someone who may be very different than you. Write a letter and hell, use a fucking stamp for Pete's sake. 

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