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Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Being 'behind the times' is not a bad thing

Rika Kayama

The other day, in my consultation room, a woman gave me three pieces of paper and said to me, "This is something I made with my group." It was a newsletter that the woman had put together with some other members of a discussion group for patients with depression.

    "This is wonderful," I exclaimed. To which the woman replied, "No, it isn't. Printing text onto paper in this day and age is behind the times. Everything nowadays is digital but my friends and I are not very tech-savvy." After the consultation, I read the newsletter while drinking some tea -- and I was fascinated to read about the various experiences that the woman and her fellow group members had written about.

    However, if the woman had said to me, "I will send you the newsletter via e-mail," then I wonder how I would have reacted. Naturally, I would have accepted it, but would I have read it properly? I fear that I would've told myself I'd read it later, before becoming distracted by a mountain of other e-mails.

    In a recent survey conducted at institutions such as American universities, it was discovered that almost 60 percent of people who spread news stories on the internet do so after only reading the headline, without reading the article properly. This sometimes sets off a chain reaction whereby other people receiving the news stories do exactly the same. They in turn spread the news after only looking at the headline. This causes a dangerous situation because people mistakenly think they have caught up with the latest news after reading headlines such as "so-and-so is getting divorced," when in fact, they are unaware of the full story.

    Conversely, if you have a letter in your hand, you will probably read more than just the headline. Therefore, in my opinion, books, newspapers and printed correspondence still carry the same value as in days gone by.

    In a way, doctor's consultations are the same. Just as it was hundreds of years ago, the patient goes into a consultation room, and the doctor proceeds with the diagnosis by looking at the patient's face, by asking questions, and by touching the affected areas. If this kind of treatment is dismissed as being "behind the times," then there will be cases where peoples' lives are put at risk.

    Of course, as technology continues to evolve, our lives continue to change. Despite this though, not everything becomes outdated and "behind the times," as the world progresses. In particular, I do not want elderly people to lose confidence because they think that their ways of going about life have become outdated. I want them to proudly exclaim, "This is my way of doing things." (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

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