There is a profound simplicity in a genuine smile. There is a sort of magic in the sound of laughter. We innately relate and understand these two things to be our exterior expressions and reflection of our inner joyous feelings. Pure, beautiful, universally human. Smiles, laughter, these things become contagious; and most naturally it is the interaction with other people who cause these reactions to arise from within us. This is because these two things are about human connection: “Contrary to folk wisdom, most laughter is not about humor, it is about relationships between people (www.nbcnews.com).” Though other things in life are able to make us feel happy, only other people seem to make us laugh and smile; only other people cause us to embody the image of happiness.
Though we live in an era of widespread social connections – via the internet – this is not actual interaction. Ironically, we are feeling more isolated than ever before. In a book on social psychology, the author made this report: “Over the last half-century, there has been a steady decline in nearly all things social apart from social media… We volunteer less, participate in fewer social groups, and entertain people in our homes less than we used to. To me the most troubling statistics focus on our friendships… One out of every four of us is walking around with no one to share our lives with. Being social makes our lives better. Yet every indication is that we are getting less social, not more (Matthew D. Lieberman, pgs. 248, 249).” People have been reduced to icons on a computer screen and our laughter has been reduced to “lol.”
We are in an era of time which finally extinguishes the very word “isolation;” its meaning is simply impossible. The vastest distances of seas do not even destroy the possible connections between humans anymore; planes and boats have overcome such obstacles… Now, it is only the screens in front of our faces and the items we distract ourselves with which can simulate separation. We have the ability to now create chains of support – locally and internationally, if we choose to reconnect. If we do so, we will see that there is not much of a difference between us and strangers, between these strangers and the people we know – there are underlying possibilities of friendships waiting to emerge, in every smile.