THERE’S no denying that the pandemic scourge has veritably ripped peoples and families physically apart, replacing in-person or face-to-face interaction with virtual or digital ones.
Thus, our current pandemic milieu has forced us to conceive of virtual church services, remote or online working (work-from-home), online shopping and banking, distance education or virtual learning, virtual dinner parties, virtual yoga classes, “cloud clubbing”, teleworking, and video conferencing, et cetera, et cetera.
But how do we ever imagine a world devoid of personal interaction – and all of life is done online or virtual?
Would it be like a prophesy fulfilled as depicted in the classical sci-fi narratives, “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One”, with dystopian stories of virtual reality being an escape from a real world that is FALLING APART?
Perhaps, not really that virtual interaction is a consequence of a “falling apart” real world, but it can be gleaned from our contemporary scheme of things that virtual or digital technology – instead of connecting – has rather “disconnected” family interactions.
Even before the current pandemic, it wasn’t an unusual scene anymore for some families to sit around their dining tables and instead of talking to each other, they are all busy fiddling with their cell phones and gadgets, totally unmindful of each other’s presence.
Gone are the days when dinnertime was an opportunity for family members to exchange pleasantries and enhance family ties.
Curiously, notwithstanding the current pandemic, have we converted our homes into mere “boarding houses” or “co-working spaces”?
Indeed, I cannot avoid bringing to fore the queasy observation that in our highly wired world or, to use Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “global village”, THE MORE WE ARE CONNECTED ONLINE, THE MORE WE TEND TO BE DISCONNECTED OFFLINE.
Family members who are living together spend more time with their gadgets than in talking with each other.
More often than not, we opt just to send a message online, never mind that we are capable of personally visiting our aging parents or loved ones.
Truly, I find the following quote, which I bumped on the social media, really a spot on:
“When I die, don’t come to my grave to tell me how much you love me and how much you miss me, because those are the words I want to hear while I’m still alive.”
Yes, with or without the coronavirus pandemic, there is still no substitute for an authentic, real, and personal presence and interaction with our loved ones.
Life is short. While time still permits, let’s spend it beautifully, meaningfully, and happily MEMORABLE with the people who matter most to us.