I was travelling to a client meeting in Kent, and I had taken a laptop and mobile dongle with me, so that I could do a bit of work on the train.
As we pulled out of Waterloo East station, I got everything up and running, and managed to get connected to the internet for all of about 5 minutes before the connection dropped!
I remembered, later, that someone had told me mobile signals aren’t great in some parts of Kent – which is a bit surprising, when there are people sitting on a beach in Thailand or other more remote places, who have a good connection and are running their businesses over the internet!
As I spent the rest of the journey gazing out of the window at green fields, oast houses and cows, it got me thinking about connection. We take it for granted that we can have an internet connection, but I sometimes wonder how connected we really are in other ways.
I was shocked when someone told me, recently, about a video game where the players are “connected” to other people around the world, via headphones – although they have no idea who those people are. To me, that not only seems a bit scary, it also seems totally pointless!
The whole purpose of connecting with other people – whether it’s on Facebook or down the pub – is to find out a bit about them as human beings. What are their interests? What inspires them? What do they do for a living? What are their values? What makes them laugh?
Without that information, we’re not really “connecting” – we’re merely existing in the same space and time (albeit geographically separated and in different time zones). No wonder people feel a sense of separation!
We need to find ways to connect with each other more, not less – and not always through electronic means. Two girls were sitting across from me on the train journey – both giggling and fiddling with their mobile phones. It took me a while to realise that they were texting each other!
Connecting with others at a deeper level, sharing our experiences, our thoughts, feelings, frailties and beliefs is what helps us to make sense of our human condition. Without those things, we are truly lost.
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