This cartoon made the rounds in many groups - I've seen it many places. A friend sent a modified version recently where the text said. "We can't talk now." "We are too busy" instead. But the sentiment is the same. And it feels the same as "too long, didn't read" or any other claim of being busy.
Everyone likes to laugh at these poor cave men, too busy running around to talk to someone who might have a different way of looking at the world. But it's also pretty close to things we tell each other every day. When I was searching for the source of this cartoon (never found, but it looks like something that might appear in The New Yorker), I came across a couple of related articles.
Omid Safi wrote about The Disease of Being Busy almost two years ago. I love how he suggests that we really don't care how "busy" we are - what we really care about is how is your heart. Of course we are all busy (after a fashion), but this isn't why we are on the planet. There are many other articles in the same vein. I've written some myself.
And then there is this Economist pieces, also from two years ago, Why is everyone so busy? (subtitle: Time poverty is a problem partly of perception and partly of distribution) that talks about some of the academic and historical perspective behind perpetual busyness. The article makes some interesting points about the shift of blue collar (office) workers going from having defined hours to more-and-more having something to do always in front of them - regardless of whether that "something" is actually important or relevant to driving value for their organization. (No one is hired to "do email.")
Which then makes me wonder how we have gotten to a place where we have so much to do, but often have difficulty understanding how all that work links to the bottom line.