Look up, look at one another, and start a conversation…

PHOTO FROM: PowerPlug! (Motivational Quotes)

PHOTO FROM: PowerPlug! (Motivational Quotes)

“WE live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

At home, families sit together, texting and reading email. At work, executives text during board meetings. We text (and shop and go on Facebook) during classes and when we’re on dates. My students tell me about an important new skill: it involves maintaining eye contact with someone while you text someone else; it’s hard, but it can be done.”

— Sherry Turkle, The Flight From Conversation

The above online article, “The Flight From Conversation” by Sherry Turkle inspired me to come up with this blog series, “Conversations”.

Sharing Turkle’s perspective that although text messaging, Facebook status updates, and Twitter shoutouts make us feel connected with our friends and family, these “nibblets” of online connection do not really account for anything in the real world. While I concede to the fact that some people — especially young Internet users — who are more social in their use of social networking sites and tools are, most times, also more social in the offline world, online connections should never be a substitute for real human connections.

Echoing her invocation: C’mon, let’s look up, look at one another, and start the conversation.

Conversation #1. The Sanctity of Life

(A conversation with  the Managing Director of the Infrastructure Services at Accenture Philippines)

Entering his office, one can easily be overcome by his unnatural calm, as if nothing seems to faze him. More importantly, he exudes a well-mannered mien, uncommon in most corporate leaders. I was there to “interview” him for an article in the newsletter I am editing. But since he feels strongly against having him as the featured personality for the said publication, we scuttled the “interview” and instead, we started talking casually.

He is an avid birder — I sensed that in how passionately he described every bird photo he’d shown me. There were dozens of them in his tablet, each captured in various states of flight or perched on a tree branch.  He enthusiastically named every bird, while narrating stories behind each photograph.

“Have you seen a hornbill?” he asked suddenly. I shook my head. “I have a story about hornbills,” he continued. “… but I’m warning you, it’s a sad story.”

That intrigued me, so I urged him to tell me the story..

In his hometown in India, there is an endemic specie of giant grey hornbills, each weighing about 8kg, with a wingspan reaching 6-7ft. During nesting season, a female hornbill excavates a nest out of a hollow tree, and force-fit herself inside to lay her eggs. The male hornbill, meanwhile, completely seals the hollowed-out tree — using a pasty substance made from its saliva —  leaving only a small peephole for the female to breathe, which also serves as the feeding slot. While inside the nest, the female molts her flight feathers and incubates the eggs. The regrowth of the feathers in the female coincides with the maturity of the chicks at which point the nest is broken open.

During this time, the female, and the chick, inside the nest have no other means of nourishment apart from what the male brings in. If, in any event, the male dies or is killed or captured by hunters and poachers, the brood may die of starvation.

As he finished the story, I cannot help but notice the tears welling up in his eyes. “See, that’s why we should always respect life,” he concluded. “There is no telling how many lives depend on the one life we take.”




Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

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