Fred Kusch for La Crosse Magazine – Jan/Feb 2011
Yes that is rt I m wrtg my 1st clmn of the nu yr in the new lang of our cult. I beliv that it is a comb of what we usd to cal pig latin, and what 2day is cld tweeting and texting. I don’t no abt U but I can’t std it! No 1 can spel anymor. 4 that mat no 1 can rt complt sntenc let alon a ltr or rept.
NO! I can’t do it.
We have devolved and moved backward from using our brains to using our thumbs. Imagine what people’s hands will eventually look like. Remember the old saying he’s all thumbs. I am afraid that might literally become the new physical reality of the human race. We won’t need fingers to hold anything but the electronic devises so as to help us position our thumbs.
Talk about dumbing down a society! In Shakespeare’s time it was said there were more than 500,000 words in the English language. There are over 1 million words in use today. Texting has brought those million plus words screaming to their knees. Imagine, one million words have been reduced to a simple vocabulary of abbreviations. Is that progress, I ask you?
David Whyte the wonderful Welsh poet wrote about his craft, “I use poetry to chart this difficult fault line in the human psyche not because the fault line is vague and woolly, but because, like human nature, it is dramatic and multidimensional, yet strangely precise.” No tweet, text or other such electronic gobbledy gook matches words, language or poetry in capturing human drama.
William Carlos Williams, says “My heart rouses thinking to bring your news of something that concerns you and concerns many men.” He does this through effective language, use of words and yes even poetry. I dare you to convey that thought through “tweet.”
How droll, utterly boring we become without the color of words. How misunderstood, confused and misinformed we may become, the more lazy we become in our communication skills. We now have developed the equivalent of the remote control for language. Quick, dirty, expedient communication without a soul. Consider the passage “Threads”
Listen. In every workplace, community, home
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting
those threads is what you are supposed to do.
And business, life and love take care of themselves
I dare you to “tweet” that! In our cultural lust to get things done quicker, cheaper, faster we have lost our ability to connect and communicate. Look at the divisiveness in our country, the gridlock in our government, the conflicts in our world. All complex issues are trying to be solved as quickly and expeditiously as possible with three commercial breaks for the “good life.” I fear that we are “Lost in the Forest,” as Whyte writes. We need to slow down take time, relate, recommit to the “lively art of communication,” as Milton Rosenburg suggested; otherwise will miss the obvious, the beautiful, the sublime and all that is truly important.
Again Whyte writes in his poem “Lost”
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come again, saying Here
No two trees are the same to Raven
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
We live with complexity today. We must pay attention and not isolate our thoughts, our souls or ourselves in 30 second quick fix sound bites of 140 characters, emails, voicemails and the rest. We must engage once again in simple human relatedness. Pay attention – look at the world and its wonders and seek to understand all the gifts it offers.
I don’t know about you, I don’t need Wii I need us.