Archive for the 'orphanages' Category

Yahrzeits

January 19, 2012

I use the term loosely, not just to include anniversaries of deaths but of other events, as well.  Even events I don’t know about.

For example, every January at about this time my older son goes through some sort of difficulty, and this year is no exception.  (I got the phone call last night.)  I honestly don’t know if anything ever happened to him in mid January, perhaps during his first two years of life and before he was our son, but this pattern reminds me of when people struggle around the time of year of the anniversary of a difficult event.

I know from my own experience and from the stories of others that this happens even if the event itself is not being consciously remembered — I will find myself struggling and then wonder why something doesn’t add up, why I feel far worse than whatever is currently going on would warrant, and then I remember the date and the event.  Going through those days almost feels like entering a pocket of turbulence or something.

Anyway, I’m going to visit Jonas tomorrow (as we had previously planned).   I doubt he could tell me what he might still be reacting to from his life back then at this time of year, so I don’t think I’m going to ask him what it might be.  At some point, he reported that he no longer remembered directly things from that period and only remembered what we could tell him he had previously told us.  I sometimes wonder if it would help to know such things, or whether we can remove those emotional splinters some other way, for example, from patterns in relationships, or in our reactions to events, that repeat in our lives.  For me, the lesson usually is to learn incrementally to handle such relationships and events with a little bit more (compassionate) detachment each time.

 

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Technology, orphanages, and solitary confinement

August 8, 2011

If we’ve observed that a lack of social contact has a negative impact on the health and well-being of children in orphanages and inmates in solitary confinement, why are we doing this to ourselves with technology?  Even if we tell ourselves we are just adding another medium, another way on interacting, and not substituting interfacing with a machine for interfacing with another human being, I think we are at least reducing our contact with other human beings.  My sense is that what may begin as voluntary and supplemental use of technology can develop into something that is mandatory and exclusive, especially if the use of the technology is monetarily cost-effective.

So, I am wondering whether we will inadvertently discover that there is a point at which a lack of daily contact with other people tips us into some sort of pathology.  And I hope it isn’t a condition of such a sort that we lose our sense of how to undo its causation.