Are we becoming a different species? This is the question pondered by relationship expert Esther Perel. She does so in the context of the impact of technology on interpersonal relations. The question seems ridiculous but when we delve deeper into the changing behavioural habits of mankind, perhaps there is food for thought.
Let’s look to the brain and its wiring. What do we know? Physicians / scholars have identified compartments of the brain associated with functions such as reasoning, emotion, sensory stimulation, and motor control. Yet, the intricacies of neural pathways and the manifestation of behaviours arising from neural impulses are less understood. You can bet that scholars in the field are disappointed that more of a behavioural baseline was not established prior the proliferation of personal computing devices. Such a baseline would have obviously aided new studies in examining change.
Particular behavioural characteristic which interests me in the context of the headline are “empathy”, and “awareness”. That is, any change in a person’s acuity. I postulate that technological utility as it reduces interpersonal time may produce reductions in such traits but could any such reduction make us less human? In other words, can the influence of technology change brain chemistry to the point that we can ultimately label ourselves differently? Notice that I haven’t yet referenced the relatively new acronym, AI, and you all know what this is by now.
Is brain chemistry interconnected with spirit and soul? If so, could our spiritual selves now be encumbered of expression through neural blocks produced by technology?
When postulating the question, Perel had the human experience in mind related to our physicality through touch and sex. She claimed that we can live without sex but we cannot live without touch. Who here has been tasked with selling off a grandmother’s dining room table but there are few buyers because families are now not large enough to need one? Unquestionably, we have grown apart and the divorce rate exemplifies such. We are less tolerant of foibles and less committed to relationships. In carving out our personal freedom through intolerance, we’ve become isolated and judgmental. A crassness has been infused within our psyche perhaps due to a powerlessness we now feel through the degradation of community supports.
With a few paragraphs of reflection to temper the ridiculousness, I suppose a study could incite yet more curiosity.