Bob Schwartz

You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry: Learning the need for personal contact in a social media world

Social media began as a supplement to other media and social life. Social media came in some domains to dominate.

Some have observed that social media are out of balance, supplanting personal face-to-face. An emblematic modern picture shows people sitting around the same dining table, each one with a phone in front of them, busily “talking” to someone else not present.

Right now, in large parts of America and the world, that gathering of friends and family is a memory. Social media is the primary, to some extent only, means of mingling and gathering, whether for personal relations or for business.

At least for some isolated people, there may be a sense that they took live and in-person socializing for granted, just a little bit.

They say you don’t miss your water till your well runs dry. In the next chapter of this unprecedented novel, people will get back to getting together, gathering around that table. Maybe a little balance will return, and the phones will be put down.

Putting religion in its ordinary place: more or less for breakfast

If you put religion in its ordinary place, two things happen.

For those who are followers and believers, and have promoted religion to some exalted position, it is a demotion.

For those who are not followers and believers, and may aggressively reject and oppose religion, realizing that it is nothing more than ordinary, it may be a revelation.

If religion is ordinary, no more than, say, the meal you eat when you wake from sleep—breakfast—it is worthwhile but, depending on what different people make of it, nothing special. Some will try to make something elaborately fancy out of it, convincing themselves and demanding of others that it be a big deal. Others will grab something, anything, just enough to get by. Either way, it is just that thing that fills the fast of sleep. Nothing more.

Consider this if you are one who believes religion—particularly your religion—must involve a very particular, strict and nutritious form. And consider this if you are weary of other people telling you exactly what breakfast you’re supposed to be eating. It’s just breakfast. It’s just religion.