I’m not sure when Steven Pinker had met my family, but his judgement couldn’t be more astute. With technology constantly working to speed up any communication, this is becoming ever more relevant.
I readily acknowledge that I am rather old fashioned, my music taste and letter writing tendencies alone will tell you that. For the most part, I blame this on my love of books that take me “somewhen” else. You will currently find me in the murky shadows of 19th Century Russia, although I will not profess to want to bring any essence of this back into my everyday life.
I feel outnumbered and out of place in my affinity to the past. We are all so focused on powering on ahead and making every advance possible that rarely do we ever look at where we have come from. The lost treasures that are collateral damage in this fight to make progress disappear without even being noticed. I cannot help but think with heaviness of all the things that I currently take pleasure in that the next generation- my children- will for no need for.
I cannot express my disappointment when I receive an email in response to my letter. I have a stern word with myself to reiterate that it is the content of the letter that counts, how it arrives should be of little consequence. But, for me it is significant. The world is in immediate and constant contact, for which knowingly sending a message with an inherent delay seems inconceivable. However, there is something that a letter evokes that a sentence on a screen will simply never be able to.
It’s the deliberation a letter necessitates that prevents you from sending a message out to the world before you’ve even had time to consider what it means. On the internet, your message is so quickly engulfed by countless others that it just turns into indiscernible noise. This anonymity of the internet that some choose to hide behind couldn’t be further from the familiarity of someone’s handwriting. Knowing they had you in mind as they wrote these words has no comparison. In a world which praises mediocrity, choose to make your message have some worth and integrity.
As I also consider what a shame it is that my children will never need to learn how to read a map, I check myself. Any child of mine, will need all the GPS help they can get to combat their lack of any sense of direction. Maybe this one is for the best.