And so, each of us needs to make a special effort to deepen our direct participation with the world. To get out from behind the screen and engage in real interactions with real people in real time with real consequences.
That’s one of the reasons I started busking in the park. Because singing songs alone in my room, while safe and controlled and predictable, was ultimately an antisocial experience.
I didn’t need more me. I needed to break my isolation, get out of my head and get into the world.
And so, when I began performing in public, it breathed new life into my music through the power of touch, vulnerability, disclosure, surprise and raw feeling.
It challenged me to make and hold eye contact with complete strangers, which stimulated the release of the hormone oxytocin, which made me feel more connected and social and happy.
It challenged me to read people’s movements and respond accordingly, which created unedited, unplanned interactions, which made me feel more human.
The experience was so magical, I made a documentary about it.
The point is, computers can’t do that. Digital interactions tend to make a person feel objectified and quickly discarded, reduced to emotional shorthand. They convert someone into a matrix of preferences that supposedly represents their essence as a human being.
And despite its amazing power to educate and connect and empower, often times, it just feels like an unpleasant necessity that does not feed the human spirit.
We mustn’t allow ourselves to become immune to ordinary human connection.
We must make a special effort to deepen our direct participation with the world.
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