Forget about predictions about the future. In the 60s, 70s and 80s prognosticators wrote about the liberating benefits of technology. The future was to offer us such a degree of technological sophistication that we would be awash in free time !
Certainly the irony of such a "miss" is obvious to us all.
Technology may offer enormous benefits but "free time" is certainly not one of them. Personal computers, Iphones, Blackberries, and their hybrids have made us slaves to technology. The assorted social networking programs [Twitter, Facebook,etc] merely exacerbate the problem. Baseball? Texting is the new national pastime.
Information, communication, constant contact is the new addiction and like any addiction, the addict will ultimately suffer for it.
In the "good old days" the inability to reach another human being was an assumption. If someone returned your phone call within the same 24hr time cycle, it was a great accomplishment.
We also received our news of the day via daily newspapers or the evening TV news. The obvious traumas of the world were not in our face 24/7 as they are at present.
We actually had time to decompress, to de-stress from the horrors that surround us. Not now!
The same great technology assaults us with life's anxiety-producing news continuously!
Those who study stress recognize its evolutionary benefits: awareness of danger saves us. But Darwin could not possibly have condoned the chronic, continuous stress that technology has delivered to us.
From a physiologic perspective: acute stress can be life saving, chronic stress will kill us. It will deplete our immune system, induce hypertension and cardiac disease, cripple us with irritable bowel syndrome, make us susceptible to infections and cancer. Read Hans Selye's analysis of stress–it will become clear.
So as we welcome in a New Year we must acknowledge the dangers of technology and attempt to deal with them and heal from them. We will not turn back the clock on technology. We will have to learn to live with our addiction.
But perhaps we will recognize, more than ever, the need to deal with the stress. Meditation, exercise, leaving our Blackberries alone for a few hours, perhaps neurofeedback…… More to come in 2010
Happy New Year!