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.
You’re all thinking it so I’ll say it. There was a burning man debacle. It’s not the best of ideas to be camping with 70,000 compadres in the middle of the desert in an effort to appear kindred to a “counter culture” espousing the dichotomy of self-reliance and community while building art and posing for social media inspired images.
We’ll see if the enlightened brethren will be 2023 compliant in its mantra of “leaving no trace” when waterworks have been down for two days.
I’m reminded of the soccer stampedes costing lives and the spiritual escapades exhausting the unfit, and the spectators crushed at the stages of oversold concert venues. Despite the earnestness of desire to fulfill a cause or celebration, i’m reminded of the weakness in judgment within man’s condition. There is this bias in refuting or downplaying risk for experience as if the experience in and of itself is necessary for the edification of the being.
Like juveniles adamant to enshrine members through hazing, an art workshop cult asks naive campers to commune in the desert for a week thereby risking tax payer dollars and state assets to potentially secure their rescue.
You’ve thought it but you haven’t necessarily articulated it. It concerns you because it’s not really within your control. You deflect because it’s easier that way. You hope that the effects are not material. What is “it” anyway?
“It” is the impersonal side of communicating through technology instead of the person in the like of the “no-reply”, the web chat box, email, or text message. There are degrees but increasingly the expectation for some is that contacts be fully digitally engaged. Where do you stand? Do you prefer not to encounter a human “retort” to an outreach and therefore turn to your phone for a tone free text? A friend today disclosed that 90 per cent of his business is done by text seemingly because that is the expectation of customers.
Are the 1-800 spam calls to blame? How about the prevalent self centred agendas of the legitimate sales person looking to drape his target market? How about the proliferation of answering services programmed with introductory propaganda prior to identifying an actionable keypad menu option. You know that the default zero has now been eliminated because no possible agent could possibly be well enough trained to handle every imaginable inquiry!%?
An industry is bourn for those helping senior citizens. Vocabulary is narrowing. Cursive writing eludes curriculums. Folks walk through cross walks not destined for yoga class while texting in their spandex tights which have been stitched for pockets for the rare occasion that the phone is not hand held.
You won’t be discussing the weather or having innocuous banter with strangers on your walk. They will be plugged in with Bluetooth enabling protection from the megaphone of those protesters stymied from achieving discourse through their tongue. Yup, that wicket at city hall has been replaced by the 311 app and you are not physically welcome to shine your grievance.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the new catch acronym and regulation is surmised but are we not a little late? Imagine its form as we presuppose the sequestration of emotion.
The Nickelodeon folk club hosted these guitarists last night to a sold out show. This is a quaint venue and by all accounts…this act deserves a bigger arena. They are seasoned pros with decades of guitar playing experience with Dave Gunning and J.P. Cormier operating in tandum since the mid nineties. Jake Lauzon has proved to be a travelling companion producing yet more gel to the stage chemistry.
There’s so much material in addition to yet another release titled “Leather and Dust” that fan favourites “Kelly’s Mountain”, “Molly May”, and “Leaving Charlottetown” didn’t make the set list. Not only did they bring the house down but Dave Gunning’s dry humour with his soft spoke voice left some patrons in fits of laughter.
J.P.’s roots started out by winning fiddle and guitar contests in his youth. From there basic training involved acclimatizing to the fast tempo of bluegrass in the southern U.S where mandolin and banjo chops advanced in the company of the Sullivan family.
Dave Gunning is simply a work horse with melody emanating oftentimes in an octave altered from the lead playing of JP. Dave is ribbed among “String Theory” enthusiasts (weekly guitar talk show hosted by J.P) for how high he capos the guitar. The personality differential between these two is obviously broad adding to the appeal.
The guitar playing is something to behold. J.P exhibits scale mastery along the neck and utilizes open strings and altered chords for piquing interest. Then there is the dynamics and flow of a song that shows how extremely synchronized these two have become.
We don’t know Jake well yet but the word is that he’s also a multi-instrumentalist at the ready for whatever flavour needs added to a song.
The Western Canadian portion of the tour is underway and dates are posted on their web site “gunningandcormier.com”.
Your governments have spent oodles of money to get you free vaccines. For those unvaccinated covid paranoid…many of you who think you apparently know so much about physiology and medical science who have decided not to vaccinate and not heed your governments’ recommendation, the consequences of your decision are illuminating. Doctors in Alberta now whine about policy in lifting the vast majority of restrictions. Albertans have all had the chance to set appointments and vaccines have been available for all except children. Children have the best tolerance to handle an infection. Albertans have been looked after by governments with subsidies, vaccines, and work from home allowances. You doctors making the big bucks from the public purse having spent a ridiculous amount of time in school have most likely never operated a small business or been faced with managing a payroll. Now you whine.
You see once we hit adulthood we get to deal directly with consequences of our conduct. If you choose not to vaccinate against a killer virus and you get infected and die…that is a consequence of your conduct. Society cannot go around protecting you from a decision which you take to risk your life in the face of arduous measures undertaken to protect you of which you reject.