Screens are everywhere! In our hands, over our tables, in our cars, even in our glasses! As crazy as it may seem there is even a company dedicated to the production and installation of the latest in “waterproof and in-wall televisions” for your bathroom! For the bathroom? Really? For the bathroom?!? Really?
(Speaking of screens and bathrooms, (For the bathroom?!? Really?) I am forever befuddled by the numerous individuals who bemoan the horror of dropping their phone in the toilet. This seems like an incredible breech of social etiquette. For the record, if you happen to be “taking care of business” and you get a call from me (or even a text for that matter!) please wait until you are finished to respond. I am all about sharing life with folks but some moments were not meant to be shared.)
But back to this screen business. I am a noted word nerd and I believe words have meanings we just can’t escape. Words are not designed to change definitions to suit our most recent mood. Even in their most flexible modes they retain something of their original force. The word “screen” is one such word. “Screen goes back ultimately to a Frankish *skrank ‘barrier'” (Dictionary of Word Origins) – that which divides/partitions/separates. The very thing we think is keeping us connected to the latest news, information, Tweet, post, event, Instagram pic, or whatever, is, in fact, the very thing keeping us disconnected.
The sociological studies are just beginning to explore this phenomenon and the early results are not encouraging. Our screens are screening out the vitality of our lives. We miss the look in their eyes in exchange for the 😉 and are becoming impoverished in every way. Alas, the final folly of our divisive behavior will not emerge until the current generation of the ignored and invisible grows into full flowered and isolated adulthood.
So here’s my promise to you; when I am talking to you I will look at you and not at the miracle of technology I hold in my hand. I give you permission to unapologeticaly call me on the carpet if I dare to look to my screen whilst engaged in conversation with you. But be warned! I promise to do the same to you with curmudgeonly delight.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14) Here’s to breaking down the screens keeping us from each other!