Whilst I understand the motive behind ‘lockdown’ it is making people very nervous about going outside at all and they don’t seem to be interacting with others in the normal way. I have seen people literally leaping out of the way or jumping when they go round corners. Though you have the others who seem to totally disregard it all and don’t even move at all when passing someone with perhaps a pushchair. Inside their homes, more and more people are using technology to communicate and using tools such as Zoom for parties. Not the way I saw 2020 going down.
Humans are part of a very sociable group, the primates, how does a social primate accept social distancing as the new norm? Primates are distinguished from other animals by their grasping hands and high level of social interaction. We have evolved over the years to seek relationships as part of our survival. So how do we stay sane? Is online communication going to keep that same interaction? Since our evolutionary split from non human primates 7 millions years ago, we have become dependent on complex social cooperation and systems to thrive as a species.
One of the positives surrounding lockdown life is that we are far more understanding of the struggles of working at home and there is definitely a culture shift in work ethic in this way. I have always enjoyed working at least part of my week from home. Having worked weird and wonderful hours over the years, I find the flexibility of working from home a real treat not to mention saving on emissions from travel to and from and office. Plus by working from home you can actually sit and have meals with your family. Which for me as a workaholic is something I love about working at home! But not getting that social interaction that you get from going to the office is one of the hardest part of social distancing. It must be really hard for people who live alone.
I personally find the next best thing to face to face, a video chat. As this way, I at least get to see the face of the person I am talking to and feel more connected as you can see their reactions, you hear their tone of voice better. Me and Isy managed to have a great catch up with our friend on the other side of the world this way and we have been having meetings with the ABC Team via Whatts App video calls. Increasingly though, we have all these apps racing to help us stay connected in a time where no one seems to be really connected and genuinely engaged. Facebook wants to help us work and Zoom is a party platform more than a webinar tool. I get the idea behind ‘social distancing’ to slow the spread but is the minimisation of risk worth increasing loneliness, anxiety and fear?