Here are three quotes from Stefana Broadbent’s excellent TED Talk:
there are new, hidden tensions that are actually happening between people and institutions — institutions that are the institutions that people inhabit in their daily life: schools, hospitals, workplaces, factories, offices, etc. And something that I see happening is something that I would like to call a sort of “democratization of intimacy.”
And what do I mean by that? I mean that what people are doing is, in fact, they are sort of, with their communication channels, they are breaking an imposed isolation that these institutions are imposing on them.
And this has become such a cultural norm that we actually school our children for them to be capable to do this cleavage.
If you think nursery, kindergarten, first years of school are just dedicated to take away the children, to make them used to staying long hours away from their family. And then the school enacts perfectly well, mimics perfectly all the rituals that we will start in offices, rituals of entry, rituals of exit, the schedules, the uniforms in this country, things that identify you, team-building activities, team building that will allow you to basically be with a random group of kids, or a random group of people that you will have to be with for a number of time. And of course, the major thing: learn to pay attention, to concentrate and focus your attention.
This only started about 150 years ago. It only started with the birth of modern bureaucracy, and of industrial revolution.
every day, every single day, I read news that makes me cringe, like a 15-dollar fine to kids in Texas, for using, every time they take out their mobile phone in school. Immediate dismissal to bus drivers in New York, if seen with a mobile phone in a hand. Companies blocking access to IM or to Facebook. Behind issues of security and safety, which have always been the arguments for social control, in fact what is going on is that these institutions are trying to decide who, in fact, has a right to self determine their attention, to decide, whether they should, or not, be isolated. And they are actually trying to block, in a certain sense, this movement of a greater possibility of intimacy.
Our students – and our employees – are reappropriating their personal spheres. Good for them.