Crisis of Connection: Depth Psychotherapy & Eros, 1
Often, /a-midlife-transition reveals the need for real feeling and relationship in an individual’s life, and highlights the crisis of connection that characterizes our lives now.
It’s not the only factor, but technology highlights the fact that, in this culture, at this time, we have a big disconnection issue.
Technology and Connection: A Thumbnail Sketch
Recently, I sat in our biggest local shopping centre early on a Friday evening, having a coffee. I noticed a man who stood in front of a store, texting. He remained there motionless, typing, for a very long time. He seemed to be completely oblivious to anything in the world, other than what was appearing on his cell phone screen. Eventually a woman I assumed to be his partner came and stood beside him, but he just kept on texting endlessly, obliviously. Finally his whole family came to stand beside him, but he seemed completely shut off from them. He just kept texting. Eventually, after quite a while, he finished, and seemed to leave his trance and be aware of others, in particular, his family
A number of possible interpretations that could be put on these events. But, to me, it seemed that this was a situation of someone so caught up in texting, that he was completely disconnected from the world around him — including the people who care about him.
The Siren Song of Connection
It’s a fact of importance for individual therapy that we are now continuously confronted with the immediacy of technology: smartphones, tablets, laptops — you name it. This omnipresence of information devices highlights a stunning reality: in the 21st century, many of us are more connected to our machines than to the people in our lives.
Machines seem to promise connection, to make it omnipresent. And they do deliver, for we can use them to convey any amount of information. But what they are far less good at is bringing people into actual relationship.
What Is It To Genuinely Connect?
To genuinely connect with another human being, in an in-depth way involves risk, vulnerability and imagination. To genuinely connect, as in love or deep friendship, or even just really listening, is to be open to continually changing and adapting our understanding of the person to which we are connected.
The information era is a time of steadily escalating pressure to check out from genuine connection. In my opinion, this is at the cost of much of our true human-ness.
Here are the words of the Jungian analyst Aldo Carotenuto, on the real nature of Eros, or connectedness:
Connection involves breaking through in the outer world. Reaching out to the other in the midst of all the priorities and demands that scream at us, to break through with
Genuine connection with another involves a real break through in the inner world, as well. It requires an open-ness to letting the other be who they genuinely are, and a preparedness on my part to accept everything that my encounter with the other person brings up in me — even if it’s very unfamiliar.
The focus on finding the genuine connection that we truly need is often a key element of /a-midlife-transition.
PHOTOS: Some rights reserved by Kevin Lawver ; Rhys A.
© 2013 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)