June 8, 2021

Lost in the scramble of our own gratification


Search engines and artificial intelligence have accustomed us to an unprecedented level of instant gratification.

With one touch of a button or one word spoken, we can learn, see and buy anything we want, instantly. It’s perhaps the greatest miracle of modern technology.

But with every advance in technology comes a relative loss in resourcefulness. It certainly feels rewarding and exciting in the moment, but over time, there is a downside.

Particularly in the interpersonal realm. Because now we are starting to demand that simple, incontrovertible answers magically appear from each other. We expect people to deliver unto is a single sentence that miraculously sheds light upon all the mysteries of existence. And when they fail to do so, when we discover that most people don’t actually have a little white box that fixes all of our woes, we grow quite impatient and disappointed.

How dare you not provide us with the instant gratification we crave!

But that’s not where it ends. There is also a cognitive and emotional price we pay for this luxury. Because our uncontrolled compulsion to overindulge in these many conveniences of technology means we miss valuable opportunities for growth.

Our devices rob us of the chance to develop a robust and healthy ego that does not require constant gratification. That’s why there are entire generations of people who can’t handle rejection. Since they are digital natives who spent their whole lives trying to milk more and more gratification from their environment, their skin has become wafer thin.

And so, when they can get anything they want, right now, rejection becomes harder to handle.

Like the very computers they have over depended on, their brains experience rejection and think, does not compute.

Turkel had the right idea in her book about being alone together. We need to expect less from technology and more from each other.

Perhaps there is a more primitive social network that’s worth logging onto.

One that doesn’t have any promotions, just people.

How would your life be different if you were demanding fewer and fewer doses of instant gratification?

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