In today's world I am finding there seems to be less and less space to actually be alone and spend time quality time with yourself or your nearest and dearest.
Whilst I appreciate technology gives us benefits far beyond the imagination of generations past are we forgetting what really matters and what make us unique as humans?
People are now addicted to facebook, instagram, twitter or any other socially connected site that lets you see what Simon (fictional character) has bought at Selfridges (other shops are available) or that Sarah's (fictional character) dog has a new tutu.
Who actually cares?
We get so sucked into things that have no real bearing on our lives are we neglecting the things that really matter?
A new annoyance (and game…) of mine are people that walk along lovingly and longingly staring deeply into their phone not paying an ounce of attention to the busy pavement and the people they are walking towards and generally into. Do they just expect everyone else to get out of their way? Should we all part ways like Moses did the red sea to make space for you? NO is the answer, you should look where you are going like everyone else, it’s just common courtesy. But is that the route of the problem. Have we got our priorities all wrong? This selfish behaviour detracts from the empathy that we have learnt to deal in as human beings.
Empathy is undeniably a good thing. Understanding how others are feeling is a bonding mechanism that we are finding in an increasing number of animalsincluding dolphins and rats.
In humans, primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, has suggested that being affected by another’s emotional state was the earliest step in our evolution as a collaborative species.
Few people would argue that the world is cursed with an excess of empathy. But we are starting to discover that our capacity to share other’s emotions and take their perspective comes with a sting in its tail. Overdosing on the misfortunes and general dealings of others is making us vulnerable to catching the pain of others, making us angrier, unhappier, and possibly even sicker.
Are we by our very nature becoming overloaded or immune to reality?
Empathy is arguably one of the - if not, the - most crucial factors to the success of Homo sapiens as a species. Without it, we would not be able to form the social bonds that allowed us to fast-track evolution through culture and communication. But whilst it has served us to no end in the preceding centuries, it was created and has been fine-tuned in a world where our need to empathise was limited to a small cohort of family, tribe members, and eventually, bigger communities. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and over half of us are now living in cities, detached from yet drowning in fellow human beings with the machines in our pockets screaming (or pinging) out for our undivided attention. And with that, draining the limited reservoir of empathy each and every one of us has.