Sunday, April 26, 2015

A World Without Intimacy or Even Real Relationships

I don't want to be hurt, and I don't want to hurt anyone

"It is not good that the man should be alone." Genesis 2:18

I am currently running the Kirk Hotel. Or at least that is what the my kids call it. My boys are at the age where they are off on their own for school or for independence, but then come back again for a weekend, week or months. Their friends have come to room here at times, and getting a bit of rent doesn't hurt.

I really love it. Each of them has friends, of course, so there are many nights when the house is very, very active. 

But I also see a lot of very isolated behavior. Maybe it has always been this way. Some folks don't need or want as much social interaction and just prefer to be alone. And we all need some alone time. Even Jesus frequently made off to quiet places to be alone.

I just wonder about the trend. And in reading other pundits and discussing this trend with some of my friends and associates, there is a general agreement that we may be moving towards a time of being less social or at least less intimate.

What might be at the root of such change?

I'm going to say that moving away from relationships doesn't start with the screens or the machines. Even though I have opined such elsewhere, I'm not sure the screens and machines are the cause. Rather, I suspect that many are doing the very human thing of running away from painful things and running towards comfort.

What is the most painful thing in human relationships today? Divorce. And to the kids and the senior citizens who think that living together is going to somehow lessen the pain of relationships couldn't be more wrong! We are breaking the most important bond in human relationships, and we are suffering the consequences. God hates divorce for a reason!

The end of that primary relationship, whether divorce or the end of a living together relationship, is destructive to both parties even if one or both parties think it will be better to be apart. But the destruction doesn't stop there. It moves to others in the family, friends, in laws, and everyone else in the circle around the broken home. And it sets up others for future breaks in their own primary relationship. It is so much easier to call it quits when the marriage isn't perfect if your mother, or brother, or cousin, or best friend is also getting a divorce.

So now that there is a painful consequence in that relationship ending, one or both may not want to be in pain again. One or both may not want to be seen as the source of pain in a new relationship. Who wants to be hurt like that? Who wants to be accused of hurting someone like that?

The young people today see those fractured relationships and wince. They don't want to go through that pain themselves. They also experienced some degree, from a little to a lot, of their own pain emanating from their parent's, grandparent's or aunt's divorce. They don't want their kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews to suffer pain brought about by their own future divorce. And since no one can control the decision by another to cause a divorce, the only choice is to avoid relationships in the first place.

So some in the culture run towards comfort. The screens and machines provide escape, thus comfort. The fake worlds are less likely to hurt you deeply. You can just try a new app.

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