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Opinion: Is this where we’re headed?

By Pamela Noel

Special to Plumas News

Emotional Technician Wanted. Qualifications: Extreme empathy, good communication skills, and technical expertise with cell phone applications. If interested press *ET for more information and application instructions.

She had been constantly teetering back and forth between depression and hope. Society seemed to be falling apart. The earth was in trouble. She was worried about her community. Demonstrators were almost a daily occurrence. She felt sympathy for both sides, but didn’t understand the growing antipathy each side had for the other. In her mind, she just wanted to shake them all and say,

“Just get along! We have more in common than our disagreements. Let’s find this common ground and work with it.”

However, she was tiring from it all — feeling like a twisted rope, pulled on both ends, and fraying in the middle. She found that she needed more than magnesium powder and valerian tea to relax. She needed to disengage for a bit. Quit watching the news, in favor of escaping to the pablum of the Hallmark Channel. (At least she knew that would have a happy ending.) Do her daily yoga and mindfulness practice. Read some books that would give her inner world a boost. Swim in a lake. Walk in the forest. Ground herself, giving herself the gift of nature’s replenishment.

And if this were not enough, she could then try the new Emotional Therapy App. It could be downloaded on her phone. She saw the ads, both for the app, and for the new field of technicians wanted, in order to satisfy the expanding need to quell the growing anxiety throughout the country. She was even reading that soon, there would be a chip that could be embedded into a person’s body so that the app would no longer require a phone, but could be remotely programmed with a simple “thought request.” How bizarre, she thought, that we would, at some point, become incapable of controlling our own thoughts and feelings, requiring an app or a chip to do it for us.

Is this another example of “dumbing us down”? she wondered. No longer will we need Prozac or other ingested substances to control our emotional landscape. We will simply send a thought request for what we want that emotional landscape to look like, and instantly…feel it.

But, as she mused about her own small community, and the chasm that seemed to be widening, she harkened back to the time where folks had always sat side by side at the county fair, watching their kids show their animals. No one cared about the labels “red” or “blue” or any other designation. They just shared in the common joy at watching the children show the results of their hard work. She also thought about when storm or fire threatened to overwhelm the town. All jumped into the situation to help a neighbor, regardless of political affiliation. Folks of different backgrounds sat next to one another at church or community suppers. When signing up to be a volunteer fire fighter, all that was important, was one’s ability and desire to help the community.

As she thought about how the historical glue of “community coming together” remained a strong memory, it gave her hope. Perhaps after a few days of media disengagement, she would no longer need the Emotional Therapy app. Maybe there is still enough “community memory” of coming together when the going gets rough and remembering the “common ground” that we all share, having concern for all. The old saying, “Together we stand, divided we fall,” echoed in her mind as she walked out into the trees.





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