I am composing this post from the final day of the HypnoThoughts Live convention in Las Vegas, NV. This is my second year attending, and as the attendees begin to drift home from the liminal space that annual conventions occupy, I reflect on the nature of connections.
As members of the primate order, humans exist most happily in social groups and communities. Having moved on from the days of small villages and nomadic tribes, we still find our own connections of some kind with family, friends, and neighbors. Scientific studies demonstrate that humans who lack appropriate social relationships suffer in mental and physical health. As we have evolved to more complex social networks, have our brains evolved with us?
One thousand hypnotists come from all over to attend the world's largest hypnosis-related convention, putting a lot of miles between us the other 362 days of the year. During those times, we interact through Facebook, YouTube, and other social media outlets. While I may spend dozens to hundreds of hours interacting with someone online, an hour of face-to-face conversation has a noticeably different feel to it, like a more concentrated essence. Perhaps it's a reflection of the environment in which I was raised, where internet access didn't become too common until I was in high school.
I watch teenagers now who would much rather go to their individual homes and text or call up the friends they saw earlier that day. Their social media accounts have hundreds, thousands of followers, most of whom they have never met in person or possibly even exchanged words with. When the conversation is essentially viewable by the world, how can it not be different from a sotto voce private conversation in a library corner or coffee shop? I don't know if anything like this has happened yet, I think it would be interesting to conduct a study on the overall health of individuals who would consider themselves highly social where the majority or all of those connections are virtual/distant. Technology does have the capacity to connect us, and I wonder after the quality of those connections, especially as it impacts our individual health.
What is the smallest step you can take today that will empower your present and future connections, and you, in the most healthy way?