The persistent connectivity with the rest of the world currently available stands against our nature. A nature of solitude, a lot of time spent outside, and much less interaction with others. Especially, when it comes to interchange only for the sake of entertainment or distraction.
People used to live without phones, without instant messaging, and still led a purposeful and rewarding life. It is, to an extent, imaginable that their lives were actually much more fruitful than a lot of the current ones appear to be.
“Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired.”
Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism
Given a larger availability of disconnectedness, writing and receiving letters was the only reasonable form of (long-distance) communication. The first occurrence of this type of communication is tracked back to 500 BC, which is an incredible span.
In the past, their main purpose was to “send information, news and greetings. For some, letters were a way to practice critical reading, self-expressive writing, polemical writing and also exchange ideas with like-minded others” (wikipedia.org), which I find intriguing and inspiring on the one hand, and saddening to hear within our times on the other.
A letter’s greatest benefit is the concept of asynchronous communication. Nobody expects the other person to respond within a few hours, even days. Partly because it’s impossible to realize logistically, but moreover because the approach of mindfully drafting a letter and taking time to formulate properly is what made it so approachable.
As with everything, quality stands above quantity. And finding a letter in my mailbox still fills me with great joy every time. Eventually, the other person’s handwriting adds another layer of personality.
It's a lovely way of letting someone know you thought of them and how much you care for them.