Technology and Trauma and a Grumpy Therapist

‘In trying to solve the terrifying problems that face us in the world today, we naturally turn to the things we do best. We play from strength, and our strength is science and technology. To contain a population explosion we look for better methods of birth control. Threatened by a nuclear holocaust, we build bigger deterrent forces and anti-ballistic-missile systems. We try and stave off world famine with new foods and better ways of growing them. Improved sanitation and medicine will, we hope, control disease, better housing and transportation will solve the problems of the ghettos, and new ways of reducing or disposing of waste will stop the pollution of the environment. We can point to remarkable achievements in all these fields and it is not surprising that we should try and extend them. But things grow steadily worse, and it is disheartening to find that technology itself is increasingly at fault. Sanitation and medicine have made the problems of population more acute, war has acquired a new horror with the invention of nuclear weapons, and the affluent pursuit of happiness is largely responsible for pollution. As Darlington has said “Every new source from which man has increased his power on the earth has been used to diminish the prospects of his successors. All his progress has been made at the expense of damage to his environment which he cannot repair and could not foresee.”’

Does this resonate for anyone, speak to them? Are they the words of some modern day philosopher or politician? They certainly have relevance to the world today. They are not new though. They are the opening paragraphs of B.F.Skinner’s book, ‘Beyond Freedom & Dignity’ which was written in…… 1971…… 53 years ago and the things he wrote about there are still prevalent and if anything, getting steadily worse.

Technology has given us the internet, that for all the good things is brings, has also bought us websites where children share tips on how to best starve themselves and self harm without parents or teachers knowing. Websites where you can get tips, not on how to recover and feel well, you get tips on how best to kill yourself. The internet spreads some joy and hope, but it is also the cess pool in which populism, national socialism, religious extremism, intolerance and hate have spread like a cancer around the world in the last fifteen years. We also now have self driving cars that are very very clever, but because all things and all technology is fallible, they sometimes kill people. But hey, they are VERY clever and look like spaceships so they must be good right? We have politicians and preachers telling women that they cannot have control over their own bodies and should possibly die because of their set of messed us and confused values and beliefs based (loosely) on a book written over 2 thousand years ago (and does not at any point in any way encourage the practice of forcing women to carry on with pregnancies that might kill them and the foetus). Ironically, this arcane and illogical belief is being spread around by the very modern technologies that should be making things much safer for women and all people to have a better chance to be healthy and happy in their lives.

But that is the problem. How often does technology actually make things better. Are the last two generations of children better off because they were able to sit in front of a screen for hours on end, watching endless TV programmes and playing endless games that fill time and space, but achieve nothing, rather than having the childhood I did which involved a lot of climbing trees, riding bikes and getting into mischief. When Dallas came on TV, I went upstairs and read a book. There was a TV in my room, but having only four channels meant there was often bugger all on that I wanted to watch! Therefore I read about stuff. We had a set of Encyclopedias at home and I would spend hours reading them, looking at the pictures and being fascinated by volcanoes, the planets, stars and of course every now and then looking up rude words and giggling at the pictures!

This was done in a contained environment though, one in which a bellend like Andrew Tate or Piers Moron (sorry, Morgan) wont appear next to me and start pouring toxic masculine bullshit down my next neck until I become desensitised and indoctrinated by it.

We are incredible as a species, but we are also prone to doing really amazing things (because we are quite clever, not very clever, just quite clever), without really thinking through the potential negative consequences of them. We haven’t learned from our mistakes around the internet and are now happily bobbing along as we repeat them in an almost identical fashion with AI. Instead of asking, can we do this, we should always ask first, should we do this. But we don’t. The psychopaths and sociopaths at the top of the tree just want to know that their egos will be boosted by making lots of cash and they will be able to put a post on insty grammes or ticky toks or tweeters letting everyone know how clever and rich and male and tough and clever and rich they are…..

If it wasn’t for my many years of personal therapy and having to keep my feet on the ground for my family and clients, this would all be really depressing.

We need real change in the world, but change based on reality rather than idealism and an almost childlike belief we can continue on in this way as a species without wiping ourselves out.

We need pragmatic solutions to the world’s problems, not a computer that can ‘learn’ to fix everything, There are no quick fixes in the real world. Traumatic experiences will never be ‘cured’ by a mix of wishy thinking and ketamine or mdma or psilocybin. They can be processed through a lot of hard work and the cold hard reality that they will always be with you in some form, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Post traumatic growth is a thing and it is amazing. It builds people and makes them stronger. Telling people they will heal by messing about with the chemicals in their brain and getting mildly stoned is a bloody awful idea. It wont work and it will harm people.

Anyway, I am getting a little sidetracked. I am just putting this out there to the universe not in hope of anything, but because it helps me to unload and release my thoughts sometimes. I haven’t done it enough lately. I will be doing it more hopefully over the next few weeks and months! Watch this space 😉

So, in short, don’t always look for the easy short route to happiness. There are no shortcuts in life and if we continue to individually and globally look to technology to fix all of our problems in short order I fear long term, we might just be a bit fucked as a species!!

But hey, what do I know!!!

Leave a comment