Want to try an interesting experiment sometime? Walk down the street or walk down the corridor in a public building and try to engage people with just a look, a smile or a simple hello. See how many will immediately look away or won’t even look at you in the first place. My theory is that they’re scared to engage you. It’s true for both men and women and the younger they are, the less likely they will even look at you. I don’t mean teenagers, I mean people in their 20s and 30s. It seems to be getting worse. There are times when I will deliberately speak in a louder voice and say hello to someone and it’s as if they don’t know how to respond. There’s almost a look of panic when you intrude into their space … and God forbid if they have their iPod running or something. That is a clear sign they are in their own universe and visitors are not welcome. I wonder how many remember the line in John Donne’s Meditation XVII, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” I would guess most have never heard of it or at least have no idea about what it means. Is there a better reason as to why there is so much violence in the world when we are so detached from one another? If we do not value the people around us, why should we value their existence or their well-being? Donne would be mortified.