Consumed with our own problems, worries, hurts, goals, dreams and random distractions, we have become increasingly distant in our relationships, both with ourselves and the rest of the world. And can we be blamed?

As I write this, my colleague is talking to me about some new phone being released onto the market but I’m not listening. My mind is elsewhere, preoccupied with idea’s which I struggle to manifest due to the endless list of “things to do”. Am I being rude or just focused? Should I drop everything I do, all the time, to listen to every single remark, comment, and opinion shared with me. Do I remain attached to every human I come in contact with? Do I take on board every problem that is shared as if it’s my own?

In a world full of “stuff”, detachment is a necessary state if we are to maintain our own sanity and make progress. To create a sense of identity, a sense of uniqueness and a sense balance, detachment can be a natural step towards self-preservation.

Yet, is every detachment the same? Is someone harboring physical or psychological distress detaching from the world any different from someone who just doesn’t give a shit about others? Is society so detached that it doesn’t care if there is a difference? Are we losing touch of the humanity around us as a survival mechanism to protect against the influx of toxic influences impacting our inner existence? Or are we just oblivious of what others are going through, having no point of reference? Do we even place any value on the ability to empathize with others, choosing to respect public success over humanitarian sacrifices?

To re-engage with others is to take risks. Risk getting hurt, risk taking on problems too heavy to carry, risk being taken for granted, risk conflict, risk losing.

But at what cost do we choose to avoid risk and continue to isolate ourselves? Is the world a better place than it was 100 years ago? With the integration of tech in our every day lives, are we breaking cultural boundaries or creating more divisiveness? Are you closer to the ins and outs of some celebrity than the person living 10 feet away from you?

Are you happy? If not, ask why? Is it due to a bond broken long ago or a connection yet to be formed? Either way, does it really have anything to do with NOW?

To truly detach, is to let go. Of the past; of the memories; of the hurt which rarely has anything to do with the person in front of you; of the need to control; of the need to be respected by others; of the need to be happy all the time and of the need to keep your defenses up 24/7. Instead of detaching through fear, try detaching through a desire to reach others. Detach from an outcome, detach from a goal, detach from bias or preconceived ideas. Irrespective of what you are gong through, just be present, with whoever is around you. Listen, pay attention and park everything else. The experience might not initially change your life, but it could define theirs and eventually re-define how to you re-attach to the world.

Maybe it’s time we started to give a shit again, not because we have to, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the only thing to do. Sure why else were we put here?

Written by Karl Melvin