The other day I was listening to a podcast with a neurologist specialising in migraines, who said that there are 150 different types of headaches. He went on to explain the importance of knowing the patient very well in order to be able to prescribe the right medication. He was not only referring to their medical history, but also to their hobbies, their work, their day-to-day activities. “What works for John doesn’t necessarily work for Charles despite having apparently similar symptoms.”
This reflection brought me back to the idea that Prof. John Wauck insisted on so strongly in our session in Rome with the whole team of HRF directors last week. In a world where we have tended to generalise, where we are “a numerical value”, it is essential to reclaim the uniqueness of the individual.
In the digital world we may be users and consumers, but we still live in a real society, with real human beings. At home, we are “me and you”. When we ring the doorbell and they ask: “Who is it? It is enough to answer, “It’s me”. And being unique in our home makes us normal at the same time. This identity that we forge and that is determined by our DNA, by the history of our parents, is the key to recognising our uniqueness.
How good we feel when we arrive at that place where, no matter how much we change, we are always recognised and welcomed with a hug. In the Odyssey, Odysseus returns to Ithaca after years of battle, struggle and danger, and his nurse, Euriclea, recognises him by a scar on his leg. That is home.
The digital world has allowed us to advance in many ways, but we have jeopardised others. Home, no matter how much home automation we incorporate, is analogue because it is based on human relationships created in a private sphere where we are able to just be ourselves. We need to be careful about the example we, as adults or parents, set for our children, as we are their most important technological reference. This became clear with the research carried out with IESE. In the pandemic, we shared a table with family and friends through a screen, because deep down, we longed for those analogue moments that meant home.
Prof. John Wauck remembered a song by Joe Walsh:
The whole world is living in a digital dream, it’s not really there, it’s all on the screen, makes me forget who I am but I am an analogue man that’s gonna get an analogue girl who loves me for what I am. A timely message for us all.