Monday, August 25, 2014


Communication is what makes us different from primates. It's that 1% that scientists can't put their finger on. How did we gain it? Now to be absolutely clear. primates communicate but not with language. Grunts and sounds sure but that is rudimentary and not what we call communication today.

Well actually the spoken word is no longer communicating today EITHER. Think about it. We send e-mails, texts, tweets, pics, pokes, instagrams, and friend requests. But we don't TALK anymore. We walk down the street, most heads are down. checking their tweets or texts. I was at the beach the other day with my family and sure enough I looked around to see at least a dozen people in beach chairs staring at their tablets and phones. I laughed and actually said. "Are you kidding me!" I got a couple of looks but HEY at least they looked! Games on the devices are more interesting then the kids playing and you participating. Who cares if they are being scoped by a pedophile!? (oh wait! there's that bubble wrapping again) But it's wonderful out, theres a lake, your kids are playing and swimming but YOU... what are you doing? Playing Angry Birds on Facebook. SERIOUS?!

The need for others to be able to reach us instantly has also made society become very stressed. Anxiety and it's known disorders are on a shocking rise. TIME magazine reports a study shows Anxiety disorders are "up more than 300% since 2000".  Being reachable at a moments notice has made us all anxious and jumpy. As a self employed person I NEED to get an email with a job offer every week. BUT I have made it clear to my clients that I may be "disconnected" on the weekend for family time and don't even ask about Sunday work. I'm out. But companies have become dependent on their employees. Smart phones and tablets are killing us. This article talks about how smart phones are driving us over the edge.  PTSD is not just a condition of the military.  If you are used to being at heightened stress levels and suddenly find yourself suddenly without those stressors you can suffer from PTSD.  How's that for messing with your mind.

My good friend was diagnosed with PTSD after his last tour in K.A.F.  While in the condition all is as it should be. Digestion and other physical traits and conditions may become off kilter but otherwise highly functional. We learn to cope with and develop or are trained to respond to certain potentially life threatening issues. There are clear and concise guidelines on how to react to each situation in the military. Civilian life is not much different.  When those learned or trained protocols no longer apply, you sit waiting for the next stressor with no clear parameters as to what is a correct and acceptable response, then we go haywire. Drinking is a common choice of action.  Like saying "I don't give a shit so I won't feel shit."

But with our eyes on the screens all the time we lose connection to the world around us. How can we function. Really function. The reality is we can't. Eventually higher function is lost to auto-correct, calculators and auto responders. We no longer have to say "HI!" anymore. Our email can generate an auto-response to most emails if you know what to do. (now I bet some of you are going "REALLY? How gotta look that up.) We all know that families are texting to each other. Floor to floor communication in the house is done with texts or notices on Facebook. "DINNER!" or what ya doin'?" are no longer shouted communications from downstairs but "bings" on your tablet, computer or smartphone. It's too easy to get hold of someone and even more easy to get pissed off when that person decides not to answer.  Now that person is stressed because you didn't drop everything immediately to answer them. Worse is you are stressed because you didn't want to answer but are afraid that the person who tried to get through is pissed at you. Which they probably are. ARGH!!!!

I haven't owned a cell in 11 years. I do however use an Ipod. But it has a text app and Skype for calls but never do I get any. WHY? texting.  But it works only where there is WIFI. Pretty much everywhere today. (except camping and the beach) But I can tell you from first hand experience that the day I got rid of my cell and told everyone, my stress dropped by 75%.  Stress for hunting the jobs didn't drop but the constant need to answer that ring was killing me. (so were the bills). I realized that there are SOOOO many ways for people to reach me. Land line at home, emails (I can get them anywhere pretty much) Work once I'm there. But with my family and on the road? I am not THAT important to the world. Heck for the 45 minutes to an hour and thirty I'm on the road I CAN'T HELP YOU! I'm driving to save mine and others lives. How? Not answering your "How are ya!?" calls. Plus I can de-stress listening to comedy or music. I will get there eventually and I WILL call you back.

that's right. I made DRIVING my priority and NOT answering calls or making them. I'm not the PM of Canada or POTUS or even a doctor. So what can I do from where I am? Nothing till I get where I'm going.

It's similar to that "favour" you did your boss once at work and now they come to expect it from you. (no not THAT favour you pervs!) Extra hours for nothing or that call in even though you aren't being paid to be "ON-CALL." OH and  by the way gang, people are paid to be on call so don't feel guilty about not taking that "call-in" from your job.

We need to re-teach our clients, and employers that "not at work" MEANS "not at work. That you want to have the same decompression time as they do and deserve it just as much. You are human. You know what makes us human?

1% baby.

Your's In Clay & Water

#texting, #textinganddriving, #PTSD, #anxiety, #mentaldisorders, #stress, #smartphones, #tablets, #Ipod, #communication, #primates, #missinglink

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