I was recently writing a paper on how CBT has changed the theory and practice of integrative psychotherapy. What became instantly apparent was that CBT is a reaction to the society in which it is born out, similarly to Psychoanalysis at the beginning of the 20th century.
Essentially CBT is a psychotherapeutic based approach that is directive, fast, short-term and goal-orientated that can be measured empirically. Reading Robet Hassan’s book ‘The information society’ I could not help but see the parallels in a society based around achieving empirically based goals in as short a time a possible through methods such as multi-tasking etc.
Speed in Society
And Hassan argues society is only looking to get faster! But why?
Hassan argues that the growing speed of computers justifies just how this ever accelerating society is pushing us faster and faster to being more efficient while still leaving us with no time.
A computer has the ability to work 24 hours a day with no break. In our always switched on society it seems that we are expecting ourselves to work at the same pace (taking calls after work, answering emails on the weekend etc). And what would the consequences be if we didn’t? Hassan argues that we see stopping or slowing down as economic suicide. In the past it was computers we got sick of (see insert) because it didn’t meet our needs, ‘we are working. Why aren’t you, computer?’ Computers are so much more reliable and integrated into our lives than they used to be, we now seem to be asking ourselves ‘My computer is working, why aren’t I’ and assuming everyone else is already!
So we keep working in order to tick all the boxes and achieve our goals, otherwise, if we were to stop what would we be missing out on? Could someone else get the upper hand?
Anxiety and Stress
There seems to be a lot of anxiety about not pushing ourselves harder and harder. And what are the real-life consequences for us?
Rosa looks at how norms throughout society have changed to prove just how much faster society is moving. In his research, he saw marriage, jobs, and homes changing more frequently the more up to date you come to the present day. It seems that as our ancestors; our grandparents and parents would be happy with the same job or in the same relationship we are not. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it shows we have a lot more choice now than we did generations ago. However, Thomas Zengotita’s book Mediated argues that ‘Life moves so fast that the resulting ‘numbness’ causes us to lose touch with any deeper connections to the world.’ I cannot help but see similarities in my blog on why we jump from one app to the next.
Speed it seems gives us constant stimulation and when parts of our life do not we flit to the next thing (job, relationship, technology) rather than looking to get in touch with and grasp deeper connections with the world. And as Stephen Grosz says in his book The Examined Life, ‘when we succeed in feeling nothing we lose the only means we have of knowing what hurts us, and why.’
Faster and Faster
I don’t think it stops at work or family but would go so far to say that we even try and speed up our rest-time, we are multitasking even when relaxing, mobile phone, emails, social media. We need all the information now, as it happens, so we can quell our anxiety of missing out or not being up to date. Growing addicted to the speed and efficiency
We don’t live for enjoyment now we live to get better, do more and work faster. We live to work rather than work to live. Exactly what computers are made for – to work. Somewhere our humanity has been put by the wayside and we have taken the ‘attributes’ of technology on board.
Returning back to the titles of this blog we live in an apologue world in which we introduce tech to aid us in our purists. It seems now rather than the tech marching to our beat we are marching to its beat, in our ever-accelerating, always switched on the world.
Computers were a tool which we used to be more efficient and now it seems their workings dictate the speed we are expected to work under, all the while taking away our focus on what it truly means to connect with the world and ourselves.
De Zengotita, T. (2005). Mediated. 1st ed. New York: Bloomsbury.
Grosz, S. (2013). The examined life. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton.
Hassan, R. (2008). The information society. 1st ed. Cambridge: Polity.