Thursday, February 15, 2018

Direct Personal Interaction Can Temper Expectations

Perhaps the best way to think about tempering in this instance, is the active listening and participation which imparts strength to others. When this attention is lacking, we may respond via withdrawal and over reaction. One's expectations of others may become so unrealistic, that society suffers the loss.

We can often gain the emotional strength we need, when it is possible to share what we experience with others who provide moments of their undivided attention. Indeed, the greatest gains are when undivided attention begins early in life. In all likelihood, the more shared experiences we have with others, the easier it is to form - and maintain - rational expectations of personal and societal reciprocity.

Everyone has moments in life when they can benefit from the undivided attention of others. Nevertheless, many of today's services take place in ways which reduce personal or undivided attention to a minimum. One common theme after far too many school shootings in the U.S., is the wish that perpetrators of this horror might have gained the personal attention they needed, before it was too late.

Even though we have institutions which promote mutual assistance, they are spread too thinly to provide help where it is presently most needed. This is yet another reason I've advocated for a time based marketplace, where individuals could rediscover the value of face to face interchange. Even though many goods are now delivered in ways that no longer require face to face reciprocity, we could recreate services along the lines that more closely resemble the civility Adam Smith knew, centuries earlier, when shopkeepers still had daily personal interaction with their customers.

Direct personal interaction is particularly important, for the forms of learning that require both personal judgement and time/place specificity. Time arbitrage could provide formal means for students to mutually assist one another, which is all the more important since teachers so often lack time in their schedules to help the students who need it most.

Hopefully in the near future, we will not have to rely solely on broadcast means for the marginalized to access education - valuable though such educational materials can be. While many adults adjust reasonably well to solitude late in life, no one should expect children or young adults to spend too many hours alone in solitude. Lets try to make certain our economic systems maintain the characteristics that encourage true civility and full participation. We have the ability to restore the kinds of direct personal interaction, that make us feel fully human and, yes, sane.

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