Recently I read an article in Time magazine on how personal contact is even more valued than ever in this digital era. While it's interesting to me from a work perspective, this is what struck me most:
Another recent study, by researchers at the University of Michigan, found
that college students today have significantly less empathy — the ability to
understand and share the feelings of another — than students of generations past
did. The reason, psychologists speculate, may have something to do with our
increasing reliance on digital communication and other forms of new media.
Frankly the study bothered me, and not because I take issue with the research. It's just another example of research or rhetoric about how we as a global society are hiding behind our technology and opting for quantity in relationships over quality. And empathy, I think, stems from those deeper relationships.
So here's what I'm wondering today: If we're as a nation becoming less empathetic,what does that mean for our efforts to help others, to pave a better future for the next generation and live a more sustainable life?
Is it all about self-focused ideals such as better health or bragging rights? Or will we ultimately get to the point where nobody cares?