A Body of Work—Curt Thompson on Zoom Fatigue

Why do we feel so weary at the end of these isolated days? What is it about constant video chatting that can make us feel so irritable, anxious, and mentally exhausted? Psychiatrist Curt Thompson reminds readers that God created us as a unity of body and spirit: “Take either one away and we stop being fully human. And what we are experiencing is the act of living disembodied lives.” Our “thinking” brains are working overtime on video chat, making up for the bodily nonverbal cues that are so essential to understanding each other. Staying at home has also limited our physical interaction and contact with one another. The irritability we feel is a result of “our very bodies letting us know that they are tired of doing what we are asking them to do.” The fact that our bodies do so much work that we do not consciously regulate reminds us that they are not mere extensions of our “real” selves, as if who we really are is reducible to some private, internal collection of thoughts and emotions. That notion is a product of modernity, which would have us believing that our bodies, like the rest of creation, are things that we own, and therefore things we can manipulate for our own purposes, rather than gifts that we have been given to steward without our having any say in the matter. Gifts whose mere presence in the world are able to offer light and healing without our even being aware of it—until we no longer have access to that very presence. Take eight minutes to read “A Body of Work”, a practical and illuminating fusion of neurobiology and Christian hope. Michael Sacacas also weighs in with a clarifying theory of Zoom fatigue. For more from Curt Thompson, see the featured book below.

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