Where is Everybody
I have been silent on my Monday’s with Mooney for about 18 months and have decided that I wanted to restart this blog. I began this blog to share my thoughts and ideas on happiness, connection, purpose, and how our lives, both personal and professional, are interwoven. I wanted to share ideas on how, by slowing down, being present, and learning from one another, our lives could be richer, have deeper meaning, and be happier. I stopped writing the blog because I didn’t feel inspired to write and I didn’t want to push out material that meant nothing for the sake of putting something out. With a new year and a new found desire to write, I wanted to share once again my perspective on growth, development, and what it means to be alive.
I am a huge fan of the Twilight Zone and have learned many personal and professional lessons from this great show and I want to share what I have learned from each episode. Starting this week, I am going to review each Twilight Zone episode and share with you a synopsis of the episode and the lessons that I have taken away from it. Please enjoy and I hope that if you were not a fan of the show, you will become one and if you are a fan, that you will revisit the episodes like a long lost friend. Enjoy!
Season 1 Episode 1
Where is Everybody
This episode starts out with a man walking down a dirt path that leads to a small town. He enters a cafe and hears music playing on the juke box and begins to speak to no one in particular letting them know that there is customer in the cafe, but no one answers. He claims that he is American and that is about all he knows about himself. With no response received and his confusion and uncertainty rising, he decides to leave the cafe and wander further into town to realize that no one is there. The town appears to be abandoned. The hardware store is empty, the book store is empty, and even the bakery is empty.
As he continues to walk around the town he spots a car across the street with a women in the passenger side. He begins to speak to her, explaining that he doesn’t remember how he got where he currently is, who he is, or much of anything. Just the thought of seeing another person puts a smile on his face. As he approaches the vehicle he realizes the women in the car is a mannequin and he defeatedly moves on. Then he hears a pay phone ring in the town square. He runs over to answer the phone, excited at the thought of hearing a person’s voice, only to hear a recording of an operator notifying him that the number he is trying to reach is no longer in service. He wants to wake up from this nightmare he is living but cannot seem to do so. In search of human connection, he walks towards a movie theater that is playing “Battle Hymn” staring Rock Hudson. He sees on the billboard a picture of plane and a man in a uniform similar to the one he is wearing. By seeing a picture of another human being, even though it is in a billboard, he feels a connection and remembers that he is in the Air Force. He feels a rush of excitement with this remembrance and connection that he wants to share it with someone. When he stumbles into the movie theater exclaiming he knows who he is that he is in the Air Force, the movie begins to play and excitedly he runs to the projection room to see if someone is there. When he finds no one, he begins to run around town frantically looking for someone, anyone and finds no one. He begins to repeatedly murmur “someone please help me, please help me”.
The viewer is then shown that the man, is actually sitting in a 5 foot by 5 foot metal box being observed by military personnel and that what he is experiencing is an experiment. The experiment is set to understand and evaluate how long a man can handle being alone without hearing another voice or speaking his own voice to another to simulate an astronaut’s experience in space. When asked by the military personnel in charge about what he experienced, he stated that he was in a place where he never wanted to be again, in a place with no other humans. The military doctor makes a statement to the man saying “we can feed the stomach with concentrates, we can supply microfilm for reading and recreation even movies of the sort, we can pump oxygen in and waste material out, but there is one thing we can’t simulate that is a very basic need, man’s hunger for companionship. The barrier of loneliness is the one thing we haven’t nipped yet.”
No matter how far we come as a society in regards to technology, innovation, and science, we, at our core, are human beings who need and crave companionship. Our lives were meant for connection. It is through connection that we know who we are, we know where we come from, and we know our purpose. In a digital age where text messages replace phone calls, Facebook and Instagram “likes” replace a hug, a smile, or a pat on the back, and where computer screens replace face to face contact, we are quickly becoming a culture that is unhappy, lonely, and starving for connection. We believe that by “being connected” we are connected and the opposite it true. Technology has a place and a purpose in bringing people together who normally would not be able to do so, sharing ideas, bridging gaps, and innovation but it cannot replace the beauty and power of a human voice, a touch, a hug, a smile, a knowing nod of the head, a compassionate look that says “I know how you feel” or just sharing space with another human being. This lack of connection due to technology is not only in our personal lives but also in our professional lives. We misunderstand emails because we don’t really know the person who is sending it, we jump to conclusions on intention when we have taken very little time if any to understand the person we are interacting with, and we become frustrated when others do not see our point of view though we have taken very little time to truly connect with someone to share our story.
I encourage you to make 2020 a year of connection, real connection. Before you reach out to someone via text or email, think about picking up the phone or dropping by. Get to know the people in your life and take the time to learn their story, where they are from, who they are, and their purpose and in return share your story with them. When we share this connection, we will see we have a lot more in common than we have differences. We will start to feel more connected and in touch with those around us. We will begin to fill our souls with real meaning and maybe just maybe we will find what we have been searching for.