"Sacks had asked me whether I'd read Forster's, "The Machine Stops." I hadn't but his letter prompted me to, and I see why he was so drawn to it. It's about a world in which individuals live isolated in cells, fearful of self-reliance and direct experience, dependent on plate screens, instant messages, and the ministrations of an all-competent Machine. Yet there is also a boy who, like Sacks, saw what was missing. The boy tells his mother, "The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."
This story by E.M. Forster was published in November of 1909. Yes, 1909.
If you have a Kindle, you can download it for 99 cents and read it quickly. It is 12,300 words.
Last night I saw the premiere of a film on Elaine Aron, who wrote the book The Highly Sensitive Person. 20% of people may fit this category, half of those males and half females. Her point is we need everyone and we need to find ways to utilize the skills of all. A HSP may be easily over-stimulated, may need to retreat more than others. I suppose the internet allows a sense of connection, especially for those people, and yet, read this short story written in 1909 and find yourself drawn outside to sky, trees, fresh air, and the wonderful touch of those around you, especially those who most tenderly touch and stroke your heart.
Reach; Receive; Embrace.