Last Friday I read a great quote about the importance of person to person communication; speaking to each other verbally rather than texting, emailing, faxing, Tweeting or using Facebook posts. While internet and smart phone communication is great for keeping in touch with friends and family far away, personal one-on-one dialogue can never be replaced by technology.
We live in the midst of a flood of soulless information. And, the more we rely on one-way communication, like radio or TV, or static and unmoving words in print, the more I feel the need to stress the sound of the human voice: The simple but precious interaction of voice and voice, person and person; the exchange of life and life.
I had never thought of speaking to another person in this way. Most people don’t give conversation a second thought, but what this quote is saying takes into consideration the modern age of technology. We rely now more than ever on nonverbal communication with our use of technology, but human interaction is more important than ever. We risk becoming a society of strangers surrounded by meaningless information, rather than communities made up of people who care about each other.
For me, this made me think about my own tendencies toward nonverbal communication. I really don’t like making phone calls and I avoid calling people as much as I can. I would rather send an email or text than make a phone call. I don’t know if other people have this problem or not, but I believe what Daisaku Ikeda is true. When we talk to another person, we have that life to life exchange that doesn’t exist with simple technology. Our voices are important and it is important to use our voices to engage in dialogue with others. Maybe we don’t realize the value of simply talking to another person, heart to heart, life to life. For someone like me, who has never been very talkative or social, I realize the importance of what President Ikeda is saying. When we speak with another person, it isn’t just our voices that are interacting, it’s our whole life, our entire being that’s participating in a dynamic life-to-life exchange with someone else. This is why it is so important to talk to other people.