It's increasingly easy to ignore what's around us at any given point and pay attention instead to our phones, computers or other gadgets. However, as novelist Jonathan Safran Foer reminds us in an essay for the New York Times, paying attention to people around us is a valuable skill.
Picture: Matt Kowal/Flickr
We're all prone to think about ourselves a bit or disappear into our phones instead of paying attention to the world. As Foer points out, that leads to trouble if we're not careful:
Most of the time, most people are not crying in public, but everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion.
Foer's not condeming technology by any means, but it's a nice reminder that sometimes we need to pay a bit more attention to the people around us.
How Not to Be Alone [New York Times]