Are Technologies Recasting our Basic Nature?

 I just read an article in which the author explained why technology would never “recast” human nature.  I’m not so sure. The various technologies and platforms on which we communicate may not recast our nature but they sure heap lots of stress onto our lives and impact our ability to deal with others. A story.
One recent morning I sat in my wife’s home office listening to Gregorian chants while I gathered my thoughts. It happened that a laptop was on. As the elaborate melodies filled the room a more familiar cord was struck, the computer-sang out that an e-mail had arrived! I smiled as such an insignificant pronouncement pierced the serenity of the moment. Of course it isn’t surprising. The chimes, rings or buzz so familiar to this age have become a generational chat of sorts. While the mystical liturgical classics were created to take us to a tranquil physic harbor, the computer’s intention is quite different. Now decades in existence  its audible notice elicits an almost primitive conditional response-a call to action.  If Pavlov lived within this era his experiments may not have utilized dogs, a Blackberry would do just fine. If you’re like me, not much gets in the way of reading a recently hatched message. To take back a sliver of control from these devices I am trying to pick set times or intervals to read my messages. Naturally, if I am working on an issue that requires diligence to my correspondence I won’t apply parochial rules but if I can re-condition my response to these gadgets it has to be a stress reducer! There is another reason technology provokes stress. Let me explain.
Several years ago I read an article by a psychologist explaining how the new technologies by which we communicate create stress. The reason- you can’t query the message delivered. It’s Friday night and you decide to listen to your voicemail one last time before the weekend begins. There is a message from your boss…”John I read your memo and we need to talk first thing Monday morning”   Talk about what?  The voicemail can’t tell you. That’s all it takes. Left without an answer we unlock the demons that exist in the unconscious of each of us. Fear evaporates when facts come on the scene, so when we’re short of facts expect to hear from the most negative outposts of your psyche. Get ready for scenarios often worse than whatever life provides. In my little story some folks might have themselves fired by Saturday afternoon! 
Here is what you need to do. Remember we all have resident thoughts that will at times try to infirm our well-being, but we have a much more powerful tool ready to help-our free will. At each and every moment we can decide how we will react to any life situation. Better stated by Viktor Frankl  we are deeded the ability ” …to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” ( Man’s Search for Meaning -1946 ).  Moreover our free will allows us to manifest our own reality and life situation. For example, we wouldn’t erupt in doubt over a voicemail if we see ourselves as highly intelligent, a person of good judgment and prone to success. When we think in those terms the most plausible explanation for the voicemail is that your boss was so taken with your strategy and ideas that she wanted to share her enthusiasm first thing Monday morning. A promotion could be on the horizon! 
Are technologies recasting our basic nature? Stand by for another message

About Santo Costa

Sandy Costa is an internationally respected speaker and business leader. Check out Sandy’s website at
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