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Technology & the Breakdown of the Family.

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Well, kids…. I’m not gonna lie to you.  This is a sad state of affairs.

Where should we start?

If you were someone who cared about the family.  If you were a product of the Beaver Cleaver Era…and have traversed the Ipod/Facebook age… Hold on tight.  Worse yet, if you were born in Europe or Russia, and have emigrated to “U S and A” …even more luck needed yet.

I don’t know how to say this in less than 3 words.

We’re fucked up.

Let’s bottom line it: 

Americans are capitalists.

That means that Capitalists’ prime concern is the dollar.  Period.  How to get it, how to keep someone else from having it, and how to grow it on trees while you’re sleeping.

And if Profit is the priority, that means that everything else (family, family, family, family, family, family…..and ….oh yeah! family) takes a very very low priority, in service of the Dollar, of course.  Even if that means having a two-parent-income family with a 17-car garage in order to buy 9 nannies for 1 child. 

Now this whole profiteering over family thing may not matter to many people for while, or register as a problem, until men start taking Viagra, send their mothers off to nursing homes, spend all of their savings on a mid-life crisis object (why is it a crisis? umm, because they’ve wasted it on chasing the dollar. Hark!) 47 year old women remembering they have a uterus AND a brain doing IVF, and children shooting their fellow students in school…you know, just for sport.  Yeah, they probably just weren’t medicated enough.  I mean, gee, where do I stop!?  It seems that it takes all of these things happening for everyone to start to believing that perhaps their system might be a bit off-kilter.  At least, one would hope this registers – still, some might call me an idealist, and frankly, thats scary. 

Long story short, for Americans to act like their obsession with profiteering over all else is not going to affect their grandmothers, spouses, sons or daughters is the height of lunacy.

How do I start this debate?…tactfully?  Who am I kidding, I’ve never been tactful.

Perhaps, I shall start it with my own misstep in the world of technology.  We all live in this Age.  We all live in the Age of Facebook, of computers, of email, of cell phones.  How many of us have picked up our cell phones or answered an email as if it was as natural as drinking a glass of water or brushing our teeth? I believe that we all see these tools as perfectly innocent.  Herein lies the danger.  It seems innocent to send an email.  It seems innocent to make a phone call on our cell in isolation.  We are all isolated communication systems.  Herein lies the first danger.  How easy it is to be separated from the protection of the family unit, as in the comfort of the whole 4 walls thing.  Now, a new level of integrity and trust is expected as we have tools with us at every turn that could easily be used in breach of our spouse’s trust.  How easy it is to lose the intimacy with our spouse, or to build one with an…..oh, i don’t know, UN-spouse.  How easy it would be, through the most seemingly innocuous conversation, to forge an extremely emotional path with a stranger or someone outside of the marriage…Really!?  Is this what we want???  Is this how we are going to use technology? Is this healthy???  Couldn’t we forge an emotional bond with millions of people in the world if we had the time and space?  Of COURSE we could.  That said, let’s just merge with all of the people on the planet and build sometimes brief, sometimes long, sometimes emotionally intense, sometimes “useful” connections.  Oh yes, I guess that’s what we’re already doing.  Thank you George Orwell.

The tragedy of technology is that people are not using it.  Technology is using them.  We are slaves to technology.  Just like we were slaves to the Pharoah in days of old.  This is not a good deal.  Anyone who is blind to the tremendous, addictive, and potentially family destroying powers of the computer, cell phones and Facebook ….well, i hope they wake up.  I would like to see the family strong, intact and restored.  Most especially in America, but we are living in a globalized society whether we like it or not, so the danger lurks everywhere.  Unfortunately, this is not going to happen accidentally on its own.  We have challenges facing us.  And it’s going to take work.  Who can respect the easy man?  The one who sets up a Facebook account, like everyone else.  Gets on his cell phone and sneaks off, like everyone else.  And forgets about his principles, like everyone else. WHO can respect this?  Don’t most of us respect what is hard and difficult?  Same with technology.  Put it away.  It is Satan.  It is the Opponent.  I hate that I even have a FB  account.  I hate it.

WHY is it happening, We don’t understand.  This is wrong. And when I say “wrong” I don’t mean computers.  I mean the breakdown of the family. The computer is the Golden Calf of this Era.  This is not splitting the atom. 

It’s quite simple.  The reason that there has been such a high number of divorces in the last 40-50 years is not because people have turned “bad”.  It is simply because people haven’t learned how to catch up with or deal appropriately with societal changes.

You see, in America, there was a very high rate of divorces happening in the 1940’s, when most men went off to war. Why? Because women were forced to infiltrate the workplace, and although (men always cheated on women and oppressed them) it wasn’t until now, that men actually started getting to KNOW the women in their workplace, so they began having “emotional” affairs.  So as if women hadn’t had a raw enough deal in the beginning having to deal with physical infidelity which they had tried over hundreds of years to just roll over and accept:  We can’t help it, it’s our biology.  Now they were being forced to deal with a whole new animal.  Sorry, but I’ve been spending soo much time with so-and-so at work that we’ve gotten to know each other and we’ve decided we’re soulmates.  Mm-hmm. 

Apparently, when they were having physical affairs, women could forgive (“It’s just sex, he doesn’t actually love her”) so men could sweep that under the carpet and none would be the wiser.  But once men started becoming attached to women (read: spending more than 3 hours with a woman in an enclosed space and getting to know them as human beings) they became convinced that they were in LOVE with them.  It’s called the zookeeper mentality.  Put two animals in an enclosed space in close proximity for an extended period of time and eventually they will mate.  The computer is our new zookeeper’s cage should we choose to use it as such. 

Men, of course, like to explain away with phenomenon.  They like to pretend to be in control of their own agency.  They know what they are doing.  They are in control. ..until it’s too late, and they start to develop feelings, and next thing they know they have transformed from a human being to a bull in a china shop wreaking havoc across their families’ lives.  How did it happen?  Golden Calf and blind spots.

They would like to think that if they are in “love” with a woman, it’s of their own choice.  But facts and logic tell us that men are actually quite primal creatures, quite predictable and can be easily tracked by their behavior. 

That’s right men, I hate to say it, but as soon as you went abroad, overseas to fight, suddenly women became manly and infiltrated the workplace.  And guess what? All of a sudden, your wives became more enamored with the men who were in their places of work 8 hours a day.  Guess what??? This “love” relationship that you were sooo sure you had, had nothing to do with YOU, your ego, your bank account, or anything else, but simply an animal, primal proximity!  In matter of fact, this new woman who is in “love” with her co-worker, is probably simply in love with him because he was there and someone else is not.  Now let’s go back to the whole making money thing. Two-parent income.  With the age of computers it is no more than a mouse-click away and a bit of typing to find a man who pays more attention to a woman than her husband, or a woman who pays a little more attention to a man than his wife can afford.  Golden Calf.  It’s easy, it’s quick, and before you know it, a third person has walked in on the marriage.  A bit crowded, isn’t it?  Why don’t people see this until it’s too late? 

NOW, does THAT make you feel special??  Here ye, here ye, one and all.  You are all replaceable with a cell phone call or a mouse-click away.  Just give me a little time and I can render our marriage totally void and meaningless.

Stage 1 was the entry of women into the workplace.  Men couldn’t handle it .  They were used to their women in certain roles: cooking and cleaning.  They CERTAINLY weren’t used to seeing them day in and day out every day.  Men weren’t ready for it.  They were becoming more EMOTIONALLY bonded to the women in the workplace than their own wives. Why?  Because they were spending more time with them. Simple.  It’s not that deep.  It’s the zookeeper mentality.  That’s all.  It’s not because these other women were better, it’s only because they were spending more time with them.  Same with the computer age.  We latch onto the computer or cell phones when we are feeling lonely to the detriment of the intimacy of our own family units. When women entered the workplace, men were getting to know them, they were watering the plant, they were leaving those nests that they had already planted.  Quite frankly, it was biological.  In fact, these men were so convinced that they loved these women sooo much?  Why?  Not because they were so great, but because they simply hadn’t shtupped them yet. Primal, nothing more.  And no one could tell them otherwise.  I heard a very wise saying once.  Men aren’t thinking clearly before sex but women are.  Women aren’t thinking clearly after sex, but men are.  OOPS.  Men, relax.  Trust us.  You don’t know what you’re doing.

And this is the old problem that goes through the sages centuries past.  The problem is, most women and children don’t have time for men’s idiocy and much too many of them (men) die alone spending years trying to figure out their own idiocy until it is far too late. 

So, to the men who are mensches…who actually have a strong desire to protect their families...I have these recommendations for you.  These recommendations come not only from the spirit of my grandmother, but they come from my own intuitive wisdom and desire to protect other men and women from destroying their own lives as well as the lives of loved ones.  They come from my own principle of “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE DONE TO YOU.”  Genius.  Maybe I should trademark that. This is what I believe about Etiquette in the Computer Age.:

1) Do not email a woman/man more than one time about anything personal. Especially if you start feeling emotional impulses towards him or her.  It may seem innocent which is precisely why it’s dangerous. And lest anyone think it’s ok to wreck a marriage if you’re single…guess what, it’s not.  There is such a thing as Love Karma.  Like it or not, the universe is an excellent accountant.

2) Never chat with a woman on FB, email, or anything else.  If you would not set up a video camera to shoot the two of you having lunch or chatting with her and feel ok showing your wife, you should not be fraternizing with her.  Period.

3) Never have a FB account (deadly). And let’s be honest, infantile.  Trouble waiting to happen.

4) The minute you start having feelings for a woman, remove all possible parameters of connection. Why?  Not because you’re doing anything wrong, but because if you leave no parameters in place, feelings WILL grow.  Trust me. 

5) When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Change your phone number, email, etc.  If you can’t see yourself protecting your family with emotional boundaries and loving your wife, you are probably …..well, if you’re reading this, you probably know.

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