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The Ghost in the Machine

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The Screens Between Us, Part 2

In today’s world of video calls and remote work, it can be difficult to remember how to navigate the intricacies of human interaction. This era of constant communication through screens has been praised for allowing those of us with introverted personalities due time in the sun. After all, workplace culture at large has typically favored extroverted characteristics—namely, social savviness.

Yet too much of a good thing may lead to disaster. The prevalence of incessant interaction through screens similarly pulls us away from balance, away from what Aristotle once described as the “Golden Mean,” the philosophy of which is depicted here by Crash Course.

By submerging deeper and deeper within virtual worlds, we unknowingly invite unexpected yet inevitable deficiencies, as suggested by this study published by Connecticut College. To counter these deficits, we ought to return to the aforementioned “Golden Mean” and seek the middle between extremes.

Our screens are useful, and their expanding presence in the world of work has been regularly celebrated for enhancing life quality in several ways. But we mustn’t forget that we are social creatures. We not only thrive on connection but are also buoyed by it in our darkest moments, as conveyed in this TED Talk by public speaker Molly Carroll.

The map that leads us closer to each other begins with sharing. If meeting with coworkers remotely, invite everyone to turn on their cameras. Aim to be real people—full of intricate mannerisms, energy, and life–not just static images on a screen.

“I admire machinery as much as any man and am as thankful to it as any man can be for what it does for us. But it will never be a substitute for the face of a man, with his soul in it, encouraging another man to be brave and true.”
– The Wreck of the Golden Mary, Charles Dickens

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