Work places use obstacle courses and trust falls to renew trust between peers: the act of taking a journey together can build and reinforce relations. Couples therapy use structured approaches for communication to open dialogue and intimacy; of course, this scenario is different because the couple often shares much time already together.
In contrast, Dr. Arthur Aron conducted a study over twenty years that set up pairs of strangers in the laboratory to ask each other increasingly probing questions, ending with a four minute stare into each others’ eyes. Some fell in love and the study is sweetly replicated in a recent New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/modern-love-to-fall-in-love-with-anyone-do-this.html?_r=1.
Is it too artificial to set up these sped up environments? Is pressure cookered intimacy sustainable? Can love happen in this four minute stare? Can coworker trust occur via joint tree climbing in high humidity? Or, instead, does this cohesion with others require time for trust and even love to build around a foundation of consistency and familiarity?
Being human, we seek connection to others. I still remember a potent lecture by Desmond Tutu, archbishop of South Africa, arguing that our very humanity is connection to others, that no man is an island. Yet forging these communities, whether with a lover or an office or a friendship group, takes effort and time. Michael Dirda, in a review on Richard Ford’s work for the New York Review of Books, “The Cool and Funny Words of Frank B., touches on connection as “those intimacies that bridge human loneliness.”
We need connection just as we need food and water. Being American, tending towards multi-tasking efficiency, the idea of a short cut is tantalizing. The question I ask you, the reader, is whether or not this intimacy built on a shorter time frame, remains as stable?