Every now and again I get asked to comment on how technology has influenced our behaviour as human beings. I've written the following blog specifically related to online dating and dating apps, but the dynamic of how technology pulls you away from human interaction is actually applicable to virtually all technology. Enjoy! (And try and get a hug from someone today!)
As we have evolved a great deal of the technological devices we have developed have impacted on real time human interaction, and basically lead to a lack of nourishment we get from contact with others – whether it's through conversation, just being in someone's company, or being physically involved with them.
The Connection Paradox
It's actually this connection – which soothes us as human beings – that we desire, so dating apps create a bit of a paradox in that the amount of time you spend on the device tends to fuel your own hormones, fantasies and projections about connecting with someone, but yet the time you spend on the device actually erodes the time you have available for genuine, person to person contact.
It's important that we understand the various types of connection we need as a human. We desire touch, affection, empathy and sexual connection, and we also seek to express ourselves through our body. The less we have of this connection the more we reach out via apps to try and placate this need and then re-enter the paradox of fueling the fantasy and limiting the contact time available! Think of how many times in a day a young child reaches out for connection, and how the soothing contact from the Mother or Father soothes the dis-ease and brings a smile. Now think of the extra stress you often experience as an adult and how many times internally you are needing, just like that young child, connection, but instead reach for the chocolate cake, beer, or pull your phone out the pocket and jump on an app to try to meet that need.
However one thing that apps and technological devices can never do is mimic the nurture you get through touch, conversation, being in someone's company and real time relating. Being on an app allows you to wander around in your own fantasies and projections without actually feeling what it's like to be in another person's presence. Our resonance with another person runs much deeper through our body then whether we have good rapport and fluid conversation over an app with someone – and while this actually can be a decent precursor to seeing whether other parts of our chemistry work together, it can just as likely be a poor indicator.
And conversely the person who you dismissed over the app, in person could be someone who you feel like opening your Heart to and feel a sexual charge with.
Running Away With Your Own Projections
So apps are a very diluted form of human interaction, where more than anything you are in your own projections, but also as we touched on, they are also drawing your energy away from actually going out and physically connecting with others. They squeeze your time and attention away from what we actually need.
I'm old enough to remember years ago before mobile phones how we'd go out socially. If the natural impulse in you arose to connect, to express, to reach out, the volition to connect would have less chance of leaching out into reaching into your pocket to grab your phone, but instead would have to come out and engage with the people around you and share connection, and nourish ourselves with the company of another.
Nowadays I often see that volition to reach out and connect being circumvented by the hand reaching in the pocket and pulling out the phone for a text conversation with someone not in the room, and thus depriving us, and the people around us from the very connection that we seek. Why do we do it? Because it's easier. We hate social discomfort, and given the choice between gathering up the courage to actually approach people we don't know, we reach for the phone again. Maybe years ago we would have reached for the cigarette, or gone to the bar for another drink, so it's not that we've never had avoidance techniques, it's just that the disengagement that people have from the real time interaction around them when on an app, laptop or other device can be particularly pernicious.
Interestingly, in the wise Native American folks perceive that this advent of technology and lessening of human interaction actually leads to an overall energetic deficiency on a social level which indirectly leads to phenomena such as population explosions in order to make up for this. Think about it – when two people interact it generates energy, creates a buzz, alchemy which energises you. Two people standing next to each other staring at their phone doesn't quite work the same! There's no exchange of attention – where you place your attention energises the recipient – see what happens when someone puts their attention on you – it's tangible. So when we directly engage with someone it generates and raises energy. With less of this we can feel deficient.
Shopping When Hungry
Another symptom of the lack of connection – and thus deficiency of relationship nourishment – can also be that we focus all our attention, projections and yearning in our mind into seeking a full on 'all in' relationship encounter or situation and can throw ourselves straight into situations that we might do well to have some greater discernment over – as we feel deprived on so many levels. A bit like going shopping when you are hungry – you can tend to over indulge somewhat to try and make up for what you are feeling deficient in at that moment.
So try and get activities into your life which spreads out enriching connection through other social channels – meeting people through lots of means – shared activities and so on, as at least these can provide some of the connection you need and take the edge off the yearning somewhat! It's often this lack of shared community which further drives our need to reach out.
I'm not saying not to use dating apps – I sometimes use them absolutely loads – as with all the will in the world, it's now a large part of the 'playground' and communication arena of meeting people. But what I am saying is just be conscious of what you really need and focus your attention into making sure you actually achieve some real time, organic connection with people to get the nourishment you are really calling out for.