Contemplating in Cairo – Vol. 18: Lets talk…

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For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals,

Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination;

We learned to talk…

– Pink Floyd (Keep Talking)*

Speech is perhaps one of the most important attributes of humankind. Without it, life would simply be unlivable, not to mention that it would be nothing like what it is today.

Through communication, the human race has encountered development, discoveries, artistic masterpieces, romance, the list is truly endless. Speech has enabled this species to perform miracles!

Today, we are slowly, and perhaps unconsciously, letting go of this amazing gift from God; the thing that distinguishes us from other species on our planet, and we are willingly replacing it with forms of communication that cannot be called anything far from primitive.

We are in a state of losing our ability to speak. 

Thinking that we are making communication easier, we have invented tools and gadgets that are slowly replacing our own voices and taking over our ability to speak. From text messages and instant messaging to greeting cards with ready-to-send poems, we're simply not trying to say what we want anymore. 

Our perception of a perfect conversation is one that we previously saw in a movie or on TV. Have we forgotten that real life has no pre-written scenario that we learn by heart before standing in front of the camera? Have we forgotten that there is no camera to begin with? Isn't speech – a normal conversation – supposed to contain breaks of thought and struggles with words, unlike pre-written scenarios where every breathe is timed to the second and every word is planned with a specific facial expression?

We are slowly giving up on our God-given right and gift to speak our minds, to actually voice our thoughts. How many times have you preferred texting someone about an outing or a meeting over actually dialing their number and talking about it? I personally have done it thousands of times, until it dawned on me that I miss my voice! That I miss having a two-way conversation with another human being where I have nothing prepared, where I am taken by surprise and where the conversation just flows from one side to the other with no specific predetermined direction. 

Conversing is not only about voicing our minds; it is about facial expressions and body language and different voice tones that rise and fall as the conversation flows. Why are we giving all of that up for a few abbreviated words that appear on a screen? Are we going to reach a point where we say LOL instead of actually laughing?

Thousands of years ago, the human race taught itself how to write. Through writing, a whole other set of miracles occurred. Today, we type. Our use of pens and paper have become so scarce that we probably wouldn't know how to spell words because there wouldn't be a spell-checker on the piece of paper. 

Just like our ability to write is slowly dying and being replaced by typing on keyboards and keypads, will we one day stop conversing and replace our voices with, perhaps LCD screens embedded into our foreheads that display what we wish to say? It sounds like science fiction and I am exaggerating a bit but, is the truth much different?

Why are we obsessed with perfection? Why are we striving to form perfect sentences, comments and responses that are free of error and convey our messages in a nutshell? Have we become so busy that taking the time to converse and actually think about what is being said to us are just not an option anymore? 

Aren't our imperfections exactly the things the make us perfect? Isn't humanity about trial and error, about sending and receiving pieces of information that form who we are and how we think? Why aren't we taking the time to just sit down and enjoy a normal conversation anymore? Why are we BBM-ing and texting everything now-a-days? 

At this point, I fear the end of the road we are so willingly taking… The most basic of our rights and pleasures – the ability to speak – is readily being given up and replaced by a more "advanced" form of communication that strips us of emotion. Are we trying to be emotionless beings that do not feel compassion and are not affected by empathy?

At this point, an echo rings through my head of a song by the famous Chris Martin of Coldplay. 

"Let's talk…"

*The writer does NOT support the theory of evolution. The quote at the beginning of this piece is merely exemplary and does not in any way reflect the scientific beliefs of the author.

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