Are We Losing Our Human Connection?

by GEM Magazine / Jul 31, 2015 / Comments

Touch can often be seen as taboo in our current society. Certain aspects of our culture have made it so touch is reserved exclusively for family, partners and lovers. When we reserve something which is so deeply primal in our social composition as a species to a specific group, we exclude everyone else.

This is what adds to the mentality - "me against them". And then everyone else becomes a stranger.

This lack of touch can create animosity if we think like that. If we are more open to touch and embracing others then it's easier to see that we have more similarities than differences. And we can create a positive community around us.

I feel like technology has attempted to replace deep human connection. We could blame this technology or we can take responsibility for the fact that we've almost made technology a substitute for the closeness with others in our lives.

We tend to be so busy and stressed that we have created this platform to give us a poor alternative to real connection. This means that when we do see another person on social media in a picture, our primitive brain thinks that it's reaching out and creating a connection. It releases certain chemicals but there is no substance... Like an empty calorie.

We are taking in a part of what we need but it is on the surface level as the person isn't there physically. We can't reach out and shake their hand, embrace or even have their voice permeate and provide us with comfort.

We are tricking our brain into thinking we are actually meeting all these people and making connections, when in reality there is only a mental connection. There is no physical or soul connection. It creates a superficial fulfilment, leading to a deeper need not being met.

Maybe an archaic revival is needed to bring this touch back into our communities. A revival of certain past practices that have worked for us. They are so important now as we look to our past at certain idealistic points and we start to revive certain habits that were positive. For example, eating and sourcing services locally are things that hark back to our tribal set up. They have been ingrained in our mentality and physicality way before civilization.

If we look back to when times were simpler and attempt to integrate some of those practices into our lives, we will create more of a balance. During those times we were a lot less destructive as a species. A mass psychological unrest has taken over us because we are missing something.

I postulate that it is a tribal community aspect which we are missing. I see more of a change in the direction towards sustainable living, with certain people being strong advocates for that. These people are very influential, even if it's not financially.

We need to empower that influence within ourselves and within others, by supporting local and building a more sustainable community. The younger generation seems to have more of a perspective than ever before due to the positive aspects of technology and an access to a wealth of information.

We can observe this with the trend towards mindfulness, yoga, meditation and an awareness of what we are putting into our bodies. These are improving our physical and mental health. This then has a direct link to our outlook and how we choose to live our lives.

Technology is allowing us to advance quickly but almost at a pace which is destructive. Integrating these older practices into our modern lives is like giving us a parachute that enables us to slow down. Instead of going so fast that we can't appreciate the scenery around us, this parachute is allowing us to slow down our mind and body, and reprioritize what is actually important.

This mindfulness can then be applied to what we are bringing into this world in terms of technology and innovation, and also what we are taking out of this world in terms of resources. There are a lot of people who are waking up to these realizations through their personal journeys.

At first we acknowledge that it is a change from within that is required, then that change will permeate through into our immediate community. This change then affects our friends and families, creating a ripple affect.

I believe if we bring this individual body awareness through integrating touch and certain older practices into our lives that allow us to slow down, it will enable us to feel more connected to humanity. Connected through our similarities rather than our differences.

Hopefully this will affect the type of job a person decides to have, the business decisions they make, and the resources they choose to consume and how they do it.

If we create more of a connection through touch and open dialogue then we will be more mindful of each other's feelings and wellbeing. This then should reflect outwardly to how we treat our surroundings and our planet.

The change starts with you.

Interviewed by Ashleigh James

Izzy Shafey is a Certified Zenthai Shiatsu therapist who incorporates elements of traditional Thai, Zen Shiatsu and Osteopatic techniques, as well as utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis and meridians. He practices in Victoria, BC at studio Robazzo, and hosts bi-weekly community massage jams in association with Templed Mind.

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