On Technology and Well-Being

"Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and ... such machines force people to behave like machines. The new electronic devices do indeed have the power to force people to 'communicate' with them and with each other on the terms of the machine. Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use.

The machine-like behaviour of people chained to electronics constitutes a degradation of their well-being and of their dignity which, for most people in the long run, becomes intolerable. Observations of the sickening effect of programmed environments show that people in them become indolent, impotent, narcissistic and apolitical."

-Ivan Illich 

I see every day in my clinic the effects of our computer-dominated society.  There is the obvious impact of the overuse of our small forearm muscles that were never designed for such constant, repetitive action, and the tension in shoulders that easily arises from even the smallest ergonomic problems in one's desk setup.

There are shifts in consciousness as well, and these arise out of the disconnection from the subtle and intangible aspects of the human experience.  Our minds are vastly more intricate and profound than the "intelligence" of computers.  Shrinking our consciousness to fit the limits of programmed applications results in an extraordinary disempowerment that we don't even realize is happening.  We lose touch with our resourcefulness, our adaptability, our intuition, our creativity.  We lose touch with ourselves.

The impact of this on a person's healing journey is powerful.  Many times I have worked with clients for whom a major part of their recovery is to re-establish their relationship with their body and their feelings, to learn how to listen to what parts of themselves are saying rather than look for some "program" to follow in order to fix themselves.

I realize the irony of using a web blog to decry computer-mediated communication.  I'm going to go meditate now.  I invite you to do the same.