This post is a following of the previous one called Killing Robots, so I suggest you to read that one first to better understand this one.
It seems that everyday more and more relationships are becoming automated. Let me explain.
Our lives are becoming automated; in more and more activities we take there is automation: heating already made food with a microwave oven, driving vehicles with automatic transmissions and automatic climate controls, power windows, mirrors, steering, etc. Automated clocks that self adjust to the right time, automatic heating and cooling systems in our homes, automatic security cameras and self turning on lights in the driveways, automated bill payment systems, even automated programs to write this article in this computer and then publish it in this blog!
It is a good thing to automate many processes in order to free time to do more, and we are doing more than before thanks to this, but since our lives are immerse in this automation, also the way we take relationships are suffering the same.
In the previous post Killing Robots you can see a quick comparison between newer and older cars; the newer, computer controlled, were you don’t have to worry about the different systems and just drive, and the older, were you had to pull the “choke” to start the engine and listen to the sounds to push it back in at the right time to prevent “flooding”
With newer cars we don’t worry, it is there, we don’t have to put work on them to make sure things go right, we just use them when we need them and forget the rest of the time, and the same thing with cooking food, just grab a box from the refrigerator, open it and throw it in the microwave, then forget, the machine will sound an alarm to let us know when is ready for us. No need to remember to turn on the lights, they have sensors. Even the toilets in public restrooms have sensors so there’s no need to remember to flush it.
My question is: could it be that with getting so accustom to automation we are starting to see automation in human relationships? I fall in love, she falls in love, we get together; I expect she will be there for me when I need her and she expect I will be there for her when she needs me, there is no need to do anything else; it’s an automatic relationship.
With older cars we had to be aware of their needs, we had to keep in mind what we had to do, we had to follow procedures to take good care of them so they will last; the same with cooking food, no microwaves or frozen meals in a box so there was a procedure to follow in order to make things right, to get good results, and that took time and dedication. We had to be accustomed to put effort and dedication to everything everyday in order to have good results and lasting service from all of our devices.
Today, with all the automation in our lives we are accustomed to use and forget, never being aware if there are any needs from our devices, so why would we pay any extra attention in a human relationship, being that a love, friendship or family one?
Like with older cars we knew we had to put effort in order to have a long, reliable service, with relationships we knew we couldn’t just throw away everything without first trying to solve the problems, and just like we developed patience with our vehicles, we knew we had to develop patience in our relationships.
Today we just use things without worries and then, when something goes wrong we discard them and get a new one, the latest, with more features.
Are we having a tendency to do the same in human relationships? Expecting that everything in that relationship will go in automatic and when things start going wrong, instead of fixing the problems and developing patience we just discard and start searching for a newer one that will brings us more features?
Taking care of material stuff = Taking care of relationships
Expendable material stuff = Expendable relationships
Newer cars suppose to last longer than older cars because of all the devices incorporated, yet they are not around for too long due to broken parts, smoking engines, worn out components.
Sure older cars were made stronger and heavier which made them more reliable. Are we becoming like new cars? More efficient in more things we do thanks to technology but at the same time becoming weaker and less reliable?
Are we gaining more efficiency in what we do thanks to all the devices we can acquire and use today, but at the same time, like new cars, loosing our strength and reliability in tough conditions, not able to deal with complicated situations that require dedication and patience?
Maybe that’s one of the main reasons why more and more marriages today are lasting less and less years, some even just months, and the same with friendships; if is not efficient, if it doesn’t provide us with the service we expect we simply discard instead of repair.
And with older people, we used to take care of them in their latest years when now they end up in nursery homes. An old car has memories implied in the use we gave them, times when they were part of the family, now they are good as long as they provide us a service, after that we get rid of them.
Where is the division line between practicality and neglecting human relationships?
Just a thought…