July 9th, 2008 by amy


Today in one of the pyschology feeds in my rssreader I read an interesting take on technology and connection — something much closer to my own experience, rather than the “technology is isolating!” meme.

…Freud even noted in Civilization and its Discontents that

“If there had been no railway to conquer distances, my child would never have left his native town and I should need no telephone to hear his voice; if traveling across the ocean by ship had not been introduced, my friend would not have embarked on his sea-voyage and I should not need a cable to relieve my anxiety about him.”

We use technologies so that we may be closer to those for whom we most care and we use them so that we may keep our distance from those we cannot or will not yet face.

The author, Dr. Christopher Ramey, concludes with an interesting take on how language, communication itself, works – transforming private, internal thoughts to the public, external words.

In one sense, one can regard language and metaphor as the making publicly observable of one’s private observations. It is a blurring of boundaries of sorts. This is a blog by someone whom you have not met. I doubt it will ever prove ‘touching’ in some overly sentimental sense of that word, but it is certainly true that even though we are no closer to each other than strangers, these words have brought us together for a short while. What language in general and a metaphor like ‘reaching out and touching someone’ in particular reveals is that—despite our seemingly paradoxical search for personal identity and individuality, as well as our insistence on privacy—we seek each other out. All psychology is inherently and constitutively a social psychology.

One Response to “technology/togetherness”

  1. barbie-dull Says:

    I like the bit about Freud, very touching, I found.

Leave a Reply