One of my favorite non-writing blogs is Ask A Manager (if you have a day job and need advice it is the #1 through #10 spot to go, it is amazing). There was a post earlier this week about social signaling at work and the difference between “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, you?” “Fine.” in the hall while passing at work and someone seriously asking “How are you?”
Alison (the eponymous manager) said:
When the interaction is a quick one — like when you’re passing someone in the hall or greeting them in the morning — “how are you?” is a social ritual that means “I acknowledge you, fellow human!” The fact that people aren’t looking for long, genuine replies in that situation isn’t inauthentic; it’s that the words mean something different than they might in other contexts.
But the good news, is that we do not have to be bound by current social rituals. So what might a very different social ritual to acknowledge a fellow human look like? What would a world where we never acknowledged the humans in our physical space look like? What will social ritual look like with AR? VR? Or with magic? What if you had telepathy?