How Modern Society Breeds Conformity and Limits Your Success
Your programming is wrong
There’s an interesting psychological phenomenon at play in the modern world.
We’re living through a period of malaise. Feelings of anxiety, meaninglessness, purposelessness, and depression are the norm where they used to be the exception.
The current state of affairs would shock people of past generations. Optimistic forecasters believed that new technological advancements would inevitably lead to greater comfort, happiness, and life satisfaction for the masses. Some even believed so strongly in the power of technology that they predicted we would live in a “world without suffering”.
What went wrong?
Our grandfathers’ generation grew up in times where the physical conditions of life were much worse: more poverty, lower education levels, inferior medical technology, etc. If Pop-Pop got an infection, he was toast. If you get an infection, you take an antibiotic and go about your day.
In a material sense, the world is better than previous generations could ever imagine. But on a spiritual level it’s clear that our society is suffering.
While our grandparents didn’t have open-heart surgery and iPhones, they made up for it with a greater connection to the core of what makes us human. The Greatest Generation grew up in a world where the majority of interactions were face-to-face, where nuclear families were the norm, and where everyone stayed connected to the wider community through church and social clubs.
Those days are long gone.
The robotization of man
Modern man is a thoroughly robotized creature. Most people spend most of their time interacting with machines: computers, phones, TVs, etc. It’s easy to see why. I don’t think I need to point out the obviousness of the fact that computing has helped increase economic productivity and opened up new industries and career fields that didn’t exist a few decades ago (like SEO).
Society’s transition out of the Industrial Age and into the Information Age came with some unintended consequences, however.
There’s a natural give-and-take when any two entities interact with each other. If you spend enough time around a person, you’ll start to take on their characteristics and mannerisms. It’s inevitable and, in many cases, a good thing (unless you’re hanging out with degenerates) since it deepens the social bond between individuals.
But what happens when the majority of an individual person’s social interactions are with an unthinking, unfeeling machine? Humans are pliable and can easily adapt to any circumstance they find themselves in (think about how quickly people adapted to the COVID insanity). Computers do not. They do precisely what they’re programmed to do and the relationship between the input and the output is completely predicable.
When an adaptable organism spends most of its waking hours interacting with a more rigid entity, which one yields?
Machines aren’t becoming like us. We’re becoming like them.
Just like a computer won’t generate an output without the appropriate input, people have turned into passive beings waiting to be acted upon.