What scares me about technology is, it’s turning us into a generation of problem avoiders.
Thanks to the magic of search engines, there’s no need to wonder anymore. Thanks to the power of geo positioning, there’s no way to get lost anymore. And thanks to the magic of smartphones, there’s no reason to turn to the stranger next to us and ask for directions anymore.
This can’t be healthy for our species. Because if we don’t practice relying on the very things that make us human, like instinct and intellect and empathy and social connection and emotional intelligence, than our most vital muscles will atrophy.
And our ability to face conflict and confront problems will dissipate.
Turkle was prophetic when she asked the following question:
When did we decide that a life without conflict, without dealing with the past or running up against the troublesome people in it, was good?
The issue, then, is less about computers and more about connection. It’s about choosing what is highest in humanity, instead of sucking the aliveness out of our interactions. It’s about facing the complexity of genuine confrontation, instead of skating by the conflict because we want other people to like us.
And it’s about speaking up at the slightest sense of discomfort, instead of allowing our fear of repercussions to create reluctance to speak up about important issues.
Personally, I’ve always struggled with this. Avoiding conflict and dodging confrontation has been my specialty since childhood.
That’s why I’ve been practicing conflict in small, concrete ways. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions associated with confrontation. Behaving assertively even when it may not be well received. Surprising myself by standing up when I am usually meek.
And every time I practice, it makes me feel intensely alive. Because despite the discomfort, I know that I’m choosing what is highest in humanity.
Good luck getting that from your phone.
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How successfully are you relying on the most human parts of yourself?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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