It’s become de rigeur to say that, in this age of the iPhone and texting, sexting, and just plain babbling, we’ve lost the art of conversation. I think exactly the opposite — I think there’s way too much conversation and what’s actually been lost is the art of introspection.
Ever since my daughter got a cell phone — some ten years ago — she’s barely walked down any city street without pulling it out and having a conversation, any conversation, with someone. She’s not alone of course. I challenge you to walk a single block in New York without seeing someone talking on a cell phone. Impossible.
All we do is talk, whether it’s by phone or texting or on Facebook. The communication with others is non-stop. What we rarely do is take the time to reflect. I still do but, then again, I’m over 50. I actually enjoy my time on the subway (where there is still mostly no cell service) when I can observe my fellow humans or even close my eyes and think!
I thought of all this again Sunday night while watching the last couple of minutes of “Mad Men” when Don Draper drops the stereo needle on The Beatles revolutionary song “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the LP “Revolver.”
Suddenly, amidst all that psychedelic rocks, comes John Lennon’s nasal voice:
Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying…
Of course, Lennon meant the song to mimic an LSD experience but, indeed, it’s not “dying” to unplug your mind and give it a break. In the 1960’s many did it with drugs but meditation works too. We should all do more of it.