In the infamous words of 17th-century poet John Donne, “No man is an island”. In today’s society, however, the opposite seems to be true. Recent surges in technological advances, particularly in social media, mean it can sometimes feel we have built a world where we are disconnected from real life; and with it, human interaction. In an open letter to the nation, various leaders across the UK encourage us to reach out to others by making the 2020s a “decade of reconnection”, and they couldn’t be more right.
Following divisions caused by Brexit, the letter claims that everybody’s New Year’s resolution should be to get in contact with others. Written collaboratively by cultural, religious and political leaders, the letter’s thematic concerns include crossing the boundaries of disagreement and separation to reconnect with one another. The Archbishop of Canterbury details how the national address is a push to “start healing divisions”.
The letter reads: “As we start this New Year and new decade, our country feel more fragmented than any of us would like. Too often we hear that our divisions – by class or geography, by politics, age, race or faith – have come to define us.”
It continues: “If we are not happy with the state of our society, it falls to us all to do something about it.” The solution states: “Let’s resolve to reconnect. To reach out to just one person we don’t know… pick up the phone. Send them a text. Meet them for a cup of tea.”
The world moves so fast today that it can feel impersonal at times: whether its school, work, keeping up on Instagram or following the latest trends on Facebook, we easily get distracted. It can be difficult to spend time in the here and now. We should try and appreciate the moment more as well as those around us. Carve out more time for cherished friends and family. Open yourself up to meeting new people.
Try prioritising the process of connecting on a human level. The best way to do this is to switch off, unplug and simply reach out. Seeking real-life interaction is the best way to get back in touch with our humanity.
Perhaps, 2020 should be the year we remind ourselves of John Donne’s words: “no man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Image: Ahmad Ardity via Pixabay