Technology and Its Negative Effects on the PsychePosted: 29 March 2023 Filed under: Tech General | Tags: Depression, detrimental effects, Information overload, Internet, Stress, technology 6 Comments
In psychology, the psyche/ˈsaɪki/ is the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious. Many thinkers, including Carl Jung, also include in this definition the overlap and tension between the personal and the collective elements in man.*
Initially I was going to post this on my Nocturnal Slacker v2.0 blog, which is a more general topic blog as opposed to this more “technical” blog here. However, the topic involves technical and non-technical items, so I decided to just post it on both blogs.
I’m sure many of you younger folks out here have heard some old codger (dad, uncle, etc.) make a statement thus: “Yeah, things were a lot simpler back in …” It seems that the older one gets, the more one seems to long for the fondly remembered past. I sat around with my parents, aunts & uncles for years listening to conversations like that. Then one day, I woke up and realized I was an old codger.
So, a little explanation about that longing for the past…
Don’t misunderstand them when they mention their regret about losing those “simpler” times in their youths. The word “simpler” here is meant as “less complicated”; not necessarily easier, though. This is an important distinction that you need to understand, so I’ll explain a bit further.
Yes, times were quite a bit simpler back in my youthful days. They were simpler because they lacked the technologies that have since made the world a much different place. This happens from generation to generation. When I was a young man, everyday things such as telephones, television, modern automobiles, tools & gadgets and such, were “normal” for me, but my parents had none of those things in their youths.
Nowadays, we have the Internet, portable telephone devices, digital cameras, etc. I had none of that in my youth. The world was still out there doing its thing when my parents were young and when I was young, we just weren’t as exposed to it as much as we are currently in 2023. Back in my youth, most “news” was of the “local” variety. There were, of course, stories of worldwide events. I was a child of the Vietnam Era. I’m quite familiar with the effects of watching the “world’s first ever” televised war. I also watched the Watergate hearings, the moon landing, and many other events back then.
However, I was not BARRAGED with this news on a daily basis as I am every morning nowadays when I login to the Internet. It’s splattered constantly on social networks, in my email newsletters, on forums/boards and other sites all over the Internet. It begins to cause sensory overload. In spite of the fact that I’ve been a relatively cynical and jaded individual for most of my life, this constant tsunami of horrendously bad news that I receive each day on the Internet is having a negative effect on my daily life.
So, yes… I long for the simpler days. They weren’t any easier. I still had to struggle for my daily bread. I still had to deal with things I hated… traffic, senseless laws/rules, asshole bosses, illness, heartache, etc. Every generation of mankind deals with similar difficulties every day of their lives. It’s nothing new, folks. However, what is new is the added broadband splatter interference of IN-YOUR-FACE media coverage from all sources. Good news doesn’t sell ad space, folks. The more horrendous the news is the more profitable it becomes for the purveyors of it.
Yesterday morning, I realized something that I had probably realized long ago, but it came to a head yesterday. I realized that my mornings started out pretty wonderful, but shortly after getting online, happiness would degrade. It wasn’t bad everyday, but some days were definitely worse than others. It made me think, “Why am I dealing with this shit?” I don’t have to do it. I can “simplify” my own life a bit.
So, I decided to remove myself from my social networks, email newsletters, some forums/boards, etc. Is this a viable solution? Probably not. We have all become addicted to modern technologies like the Internet, cell phones, streaming TV, etc. It’s going to be a hard habit to break, I believe.
Which leads me to the main point of this article…
Is this detrimental to humans? Is it causing undo stress, strife, belligerence, passivity, etc. in our psyches? Think about this, as you’ve been reading here, do you experience this overload? Does it sometimes change your outlook or demeanor throughout your day? If it is having this effect on many of us, how is that going to turn out? How, more importantly, is it affecting our children? What warpage in their understanding and image of the world will this cause for them? Is our technology creating tomorrow’s psychopathic killers? Think about it for a while.
What are the solutions to today’s information overload?
The creators of the modern technologies, particularly the Internet, that we all “enjoy” on a daily basis mostly had wondrous and stupendously beautiful dreams of what their technology would do for mankind. Sadly, though, the big-brained monkeys (H. sapiens) have an extremely well-developed talent for corrupting beauty in this world.
I have no solutions.
PEACE & Keep on Rockin’, friends!
s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com (image 1)
technofaq.org (image 2)
iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu (image 3)
*from THIS Wikipedia article
Ah, to be a “Simple Man” (Lynyrd Skinner) or “a happy idiot” (Jackson Browne)
Point taken – and my longtime mantra of “context and perspective” fits well.
Psychologically, IMM you identified a major component among today’s modern times dwellers. It’s not only technology per se, as humans fairly effectively embraced one and then 2-way communication advances – TV, phone, Internet – but about what you describe as “IN-YOUR-FACE media coverage from all sources”. Yes, and 24/7, with ‘talking heads’ replaced by shrieking memes and purveyors of lies, disrespect, and division, towards tribalism and a split, us vs. them, “those people” vs. “patriots”, or ‘woke’/sentient vs. #GQP believers, however it is framed. But even for those who tune out partisan or culture wars, the information and disinformation are *constant*, and loud. TMI/TMD (too much information AND too much disinformation). And this is layered on top of long-term PTSD, for some beginning around 9/11 (2001), for some beginning with Trump.
And for everyone, COVID.
So yeah, for us old codgers who tuned into Beatles or Brubeck or Motown on the AM/FM or turntable, before catching our favorite shows using the new-fangled revolution, VCR’s, and then Netflix, then a shrunken screen which people are attached to literally (by choice/addiction) 24/7, plus… the John Lennon truism:
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
And yes, there were big events which captured us and held us in a spell, spurred to action, etc. (Vietnam, Watergate, as you mention.) And now, crime, hate, and lies in such volume and frequency, it has become “normalized”. As has PTSD.
Some speak of resilience (which is not ‘teachable’, according to Sir Michael Rutter), some hide in their cave, some are oblivious and ready to party.
Meditation/mindfulness are one way to orient towards inner quiet and shedding some angst, and so is rationing exposure to the more stressful things if we can.
Leave you with one appropriately media/tech drenched bit of “context and perspective”: http://bit.ly/iPadprn
I hear you Eric! I’ve been outdoors for the last several weeks for the very reasons you ‘re talking about. It took me 5 days to hand pick every weed from the garden. Another day to mulch it. No technology involved, pure unadulterated willpower. Onward to a new project. Bird feeders next. Same thing .. mother nature .. Works wonders for de-stressing. Exhilarating ..
The news is an addiction … too much of anything is not good, especially in this day and age.
Stay positive, share things … especially things from the good ol days!
♥ Wisdom, ♥spirituality, ♥love, ♥peace (just to name a few).
Keep the faith You’re not alone
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Solution is simple — do not consume news, do not use smart phone. Read books instead.
Read books. Absolutely! 🙂