The Art of Texting 1 – Reacting from the Heart


When you next receive a text which prompts some emotional reaction in you, read it carefully and then listen for what your heart is saying.

Search within for how you feel about the content of that text.

Hold the other person in mind and reach out for what you believe is in his or her heart.

Then form a reply. You can then dictate it into the phone (if you have the right application), say it aloud or voice it in your head before you type and send.

You might find that the slower response is less cold, more eloquent and more ‘you’.

In Jaron Lanier’s book You Are Not a Gadget, one can see the sense in which we are the gadgets and the corporation is the user of gadgets. We text because the corporation uses us to text. We think we are acting, but usually we are reacting. The corporation needs us to be ‘always on’. It has given us a way to talk as quickly as a spider can walk, and to send messages as fast as a spider can spin a thread. We are offered a way to do it with superfast thinking via lightning-quick thumb and fingertips. (Some children can thumb text without even taking their phones out of their pockets.) But it is alarming that there’s no time for us to feel what we mean to say. Feeling in the human heart prompts some reflective pause to take the measure of something we value, but any pause in superfast thinking feels like sluggishness. It isn’t, as we will get to later, but it feels like it. Superfast tap-tap-tap goes with cold calculation, shorthand and minimal touch. No time to consider or empathise. Type fast. Think with the speed of a reflex. Be like a scuttling spider. We can tap glass with the ends of fingertips and write a sentence in seconds. Speed creates efficiency and a digital version of speed-of-sound physical running. Our words reach the other in a second, faster than we can speak the words. No larynx is needed, no tongue, no lips. Those soft organs mysteriously create physical sounds which carry as much feeling as thought. It used to be our main medium. Now we prefer to be like something with a large head and little arms and legs coming directly out of it which taper into long fingertips that can tap screens and point like a clever spider. From a distance it looks like a dance. In Text, we used pizzicato violin music behind the tap-tap-tapping of the jumping spider and its effect was comic and grotesque.

From Digital Inferno

About Paul Levy

Paul is a writer, thinker, facilitator, theatre-maker, and conversifier. He is the author of the book, Digital Inferno.

Posted on November 3, 2014, in Key themes. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Made worse by predictive text, not only are you rushing, but the system is one step ahead pulling you along too.

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