The Virtual Doesn’t replace the Visual

I recently finished an interesting book entitled, “Leaders Eat Last”. It was written by a retired Marine and was recommended to me. Since reading the book I used quotes from the book quite a few times and even found myself highlighting almost a third of the project. What I found to be most astonishing was the subject of dopamine. Dopamine  is a chemical in the brain; that once stimulated it looks to have that same feeling over and over again. For instance, we may feel needed and we help someone out and then we feel good by how someone thanks us. The same is true for receiving “likes” on any social media platform such as FaceBook or Instagram. The author even went on to expound that kids are not on the rise of ADHD, but we are experiencing the molding of a new kind of addiction.

I would argue that what the author is asserting is certainly true. Then, I took a look at myself and found myself looking at my phone every few minutes to see if there are any alerts, missed calls, or new notifications. With the Google Chrome platform, I find myself opening several windows at a time with whatever I just happen to think of. It’s not only students who are suffering, but teachers as well. It’s pretty much commonplace for someone to be speaking with a student and then all of sudden there is a ping that rings. The ping usually is from someone who is higher on the pay scale and wanting some sort of answer to the request. It could also be for the parent who is trying to work and all of sudden receives an email from the school that he/she forgot homework, had an accident, or just had a bad day. Thinking 15 years ago, these things would have never happened.

Dealing with the virtual world has created a deep illusion in the minds of some. For example, I had to counsel someone who was having a hard time with their wife. To me it was quite comical, but to this individual it was something serious. He was literally having an argument with his wife, because the status on his Facebook profile wasn’t updated to read “Married”. This guy had a hard time in the office to compound his frustrations and even put a hole in one of the walls. Then, he was facing suspension, loss of pay, and even some extra duties. There is no way in the world that a few words on a screen could ever bring me to that. But, that is his reality and sadly the reality of so many others. I have to admit, I like to “Likes” on my posts, but not at the expense of who I really am.

As I read more of the book it relayed to the fact that there is a reason that AA meetings are held in recreational centers and churches. There is no replacement for human emotion and real time interaction. There’s no way that a recovering addict is going to just check in with a sponsor with an email. There’s no way it would work! he group has to be communal. That’s why I frown upon those who say they are Christians, but go to church by watching it on their computers. There’s something a lot deeper that stops them from going. There is the vulnerability, the people you probably don’t feel like talking to, and even someone who has hurt you in some way or fashion. But, that is exactly what we as humans are called to do. For the last 50,000 years humans have been very proficient at surviving, but there is no way that one does it all alone.

So, in this new age of everything being so great. Try getting out and talking with someone. Maybe even create a weekend, where you leave your phone at the house. Try functioning and I do believe that you may find out that there is a lot more to you than you may have originally thought. Stay blessed and I will continue to live as such.

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