The Paradox of Connectedness

The 'super-connected' world of the internet, social media and hand-held communication devices, may be driving us further apart, according to a leading psychologist and social researcher.

Psychologist and author Hugh Mackay used the 2011 Creative Innovation conference in Melbourne to question what sees as 'the great double paradox' of connectedness.

For Mackay, the paradox is “that all this brilliant connected technology creates the illusion that its bringing us together, but its keeping us apart, and making it easier for us to stay apart”.

Connection is, according to Mackay, the lifeblood of human existence. “Communication is how we love, nurture, create communities and generate civilised societies” said Mackay.

But connection is so much more than words or visuals - Mackay said its about posture, dress, smell, expression, about where you are and what you are doing.

Mackay said if people are not connecting face to face, then they are losing 50-90% of the communication.

The key to effective communications is not technology, its listening. “Listening is what connects us, its what provides empathy and understanding.” he said.

Modern society and technology limits our connection to the natural world but it also stops us from being connected with ourselves, Mackay said.

He also said for most people connection with yourself comes through creative self-expression.

“When you lose yourself in the creative process, you find yourself,” said Mackay.

“Regular creative activity connects us to ourselves, and to others. It's hard to be a good communicator if you aren’t in touch with yourself, if you aren’t confident with who you are.”

The 2011 Creative Innovation conference brings together delegates and speakers from around the world, and across many industries and sectors, to examine 'the challenges and opportunities of a super connected world.

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