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Raised in the digital age, caged in a digital cage


7 days agoBusy5 min read

One of the most beautiful building blocks of human existence are the acts of randomness of experience tat are constantly injected into our world, the spilled coffee, the unexpected laughter of a child, or the touch of a hand that leads to a marriage - as was the case that led to my own. Randomness is vital for our development as it forces us to pay attention to what we wouldn't otherwise and can cause profound changes in who we are. Random can introduce difficulty and give us a chance to grow stronger.

In my view, it is this randomness of experience that directs us into unknowns and opens us to potential that we would not have had otherwise. And while it can be in the negative, the overcoming can drive us into generating positive from it.

From the first moment of our life, randomness is the major influence as we do not choose our parents, our skin, nationality, personality, economic availability or a myriad other factors that influence the course we will take. We are mostly, passengers in a random world.

And, we do not like it.

So, we seek out ways to take control and over the last generation or two, digital experience has become a major force in our development. We box ourselves into the completely engineered gaming experience of known paths and purpose, spaces where there is literally, no random. It is predictable.

While there can be benefits to this, we have essentially created safe zones, free of randomness which are the antithesis of evolution, the chaotic force of nature with near unlimited facets combining in near unlimited ways to move our universe forward. But, the universe is too large to deal with here and now perhaps.

What I was thinking about during a client session today were the skills that lead us through life and with the client we were talking about social skills. Imagine having 100 single men and a 100 single women in a bar. 50 of the men are socially adept, 50 are not. What are the results, do you think? If as an independent evaluator of humans, which will make better matches with the women and will there be differences across other factors that might matter, such as intelligence, looks, personality etc?

I think a lot of the skills that are valuable to us as humans for both development and socialization are learned through the random encounters through life that challenge us, frustrate us, make us smile and cry. We learn how to be human through our experiences and that is one filled with randomization of process and outcomes that develop our sense and intuition for patience and fairness, preference and compassion.

What happens when this randomization is replaced by engineered worlds with known purpose and a narrow range of skills that are applicable across all environments? While there can be some addition to the skill toolkit, what is unknowingly missing? I mentioned compassion a few sentences ago, can one truly learn it without having fully experienced the conditions personally that may be the catalyst for it in another? How many of these skills need to be learned through demonstration, like ancient stories passed down across millennia.

I have found through talking to many millenials that they constantly feel threatened and under attack, many of them are depressed despite enjoying some of the best conditions of life humanity as a whole has ever seen. I question whether the pressure is high or, that they are missing the fundamental skills that were learned by earlier generations in childhood, the teasing, the friendships, the have your back in thick or thin and the randomized events that lead a young life into and out of all kinds of situations.

These days, people engineer their experience to take a picture of it for Instagram.

I feel like we are caging ourselves in a digital box of narrow experience and fooling ourselves into believing that it is a true representation of experience, that it is enough stimulus for life as a human. And without the experience of alternatives, we do not know what we are missing, we do not have the randomness of life to slap us awake for a moment and say,

"hey, there is more to life, don't stop here..."

And instead, when we do get the jolt of reality, we turn away, we blame it for upsetting our minds and emotions and banish it away through violent acts or, acts of avoidance. Rather than learn to deal with life, we sink ourselves further into our digital cages and pretend it is all we need.

And for a time, it is.

I wonder what happens when people realize they lack intimacy, but haven't the skills to generate it in a healthy manner. I wonder what happens to the compassion in people when they fall in and out of dysfunctional relationships. I wonder what happens to the children born to parents who are missing the skills of humanity that raise strong, loving and passionate adults.

I feel we are increasingly living in a world of robots coded by engineered experience to be predictable, controlled and devoid of the ability to cope with the random nature of life. A pack of wild wolves, domesticated and bred for subservience. To serve what end is the question.

We build our own cage and lock ourselves in. I hope we haven't lost the key.

[ a Steem original ]



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