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Nancy Sherman is a Distinguished University Professor in the Philosophy Department of Georgetown University. She received her BA from Bryn Mawr College, her PhD from Harvard, and her MLitt from[…]

Our “insidious” digital overconnectedness can pose a major challenge.

Question: What’s thernbiggest challenge you face in your work?


Nancy Sherman:  I’mrn a parent of two amazing kidsrnand—adult kids now, and a spouse, a wife, and an academic and a writer, rnand itrnmay sound trivial, but being able to do well in all of those things all rntherntime, or most of the time, some of the time, is always before me.  And it’s not just about juggling, butrnit’s about being there.  When myrnchildren were little, my son Jonathan would sort of catch on when I was rnplayingrnLegos and I really wasn’t there, there with him.  Yourn know, I wasn’t in the game and empathically involvedrnbecause my head was thinking about some paragraph on the fabric of rncharacterrnI was about to write, or a lecture I had to give in the morning.  So, I think for me, the challengernis—and I feel this with my students too, to always remain empathicallyrnconnected to the people that I’m with and rnnot be so busy... rnBut I think right now, I feel is the challenge and I share this, rnI’mrnsure with many others, I think we are about to implode because of being rnpluggedrnin.  Everyone on the street has gotrntheir head in some little device, electronic device.  Andrn my students feel guilty that they’ve been in a lecturernfor 15 minutes and someone might have been texting them and they haven’trn beenrnable to answer in the 15 minutes. rnSo, this sense of—you might say there’s a flip side of what I wasrnsaying, of being over-connected. rnBut it’s over-connected in an insidious way.  So,rn I’d say, go off to the mountains and smell and breathernand workout hard and attach to people in the real, physical, concrete,rnemotional way, and not just through cyberspace.  Thatrn would be the—that’s the instruction we have and thernchallenge to realize as well.