If you are here reading this, chances are you spend a great deal of your time on your computer, with your cell phone, and in your car. There is nothing wrong with that. One has to make a living, connect with other human beings and find ways to entertain oneself. And what better way to do that than with technology.
But have you ever asked yourself why the more time you spend with your computer and cell phone, the more problems you have with romantic or sexual relationships in particular. Ever wondered why?
You see, we human beings are like chameleons in that we naturally rework ourselves and “become” our environment. It’s a primal survival instinct and a very effective one at that. Changing our “colour” to match our environment not only helps us function efficiently in that environment, it also helps us quickly become invisible to our predators. So if we spend most of our time with our computer, in our car or around machines, it’s only natural that we imitate our environment. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. Computers, cell phones, cars, machines… are so great, amazing, wonderful — hmmwa! can’t do without technology.
And there is nothing wrong with reworking ourselves to perform our functions consistently, efficiently, and in a standardized way. The problem starts when we can not distinguish between our environment and who we are.
Thinking and operating like a machine — if not checked — takes over how we operate our lives and how we operate in relationships.
Mechanistic mindsets not only operate with each other like machines, they operate each other like machines. It’s therefore no surprise that a “good” relationship is one in which the operator is in control and can operate the machine (relationship) to serve his or her objectives– consistently, efficiently, and in a standardized way. A well managed relationship is also one in which the operator controls and manages the other person so that the other person is doing what he or she is being told and performing consistently, efficiently, and to standard.
Here is where things start to fall apart. In an effort to maintain (an illusion of) control and invulnerability the mechanistic mindset becomes preoccupied with what might go wrong. The preoccupation with what’s wrong and what might go wrong becomes the modus operandi of all the mechanistic mindset’s relationships. The other person begins to feel like they are not performing consistently, efficiently, and to standard. In other words, they are malfunctioning. As little attention is given to what is working well — if it ain’t broke don’t fix it — the relationship quickly deteriorates and comes to an abrupt and sometimes painful end.
Now you have a broken machine. And when a machine breaks down it is perfectly appropriate to feel that you should fix it. The first thing that comes to mind is a “fix” or “repair” kit (a.k.a. Fix /repair a broken relationship books). When that doesn’t work, you hire a Fix-It Expert (Dr. Phil type) to fix the other person and fix the relationship. After a few attempts, the Fix-It Expert tells you that the other person can’t reboot, the relationship accelerator and brake systems aren’t functioning, and the battery is dead beyond repair.
This is when reality hits home — for a few. The majority just don’t get it. As far as they are concerned the problem is with the other person — malfunctioning machine. So they throw away that relationship and start shopping for another person to operate like a machine– someone they think is an improved model or one that is in-fashion.
Approaching each other in a machine-like way gets us into trouble. You can’t manage human beings like machines because human beings constantly change, grow and evolve — and have real emotions and feelings. And unlike machines, human beings are distinctive (no one is the same as the other), dynamic and sometimes very unpredictable.
And like human beings, relationships are not static and everything changes so fast with a roller coaster effect — many ups and downs, as well as twists and turns. It’s a process of ongoing change and discovery along the way.
Once you get out of a mechanistic mind-set, you will be surprised to discover that creating a relationship and maintaining one is not rocket science when you treat others like human beings and relationships like an ongoing discovery.
But until then, it’s dissatisfaction, disappointed and pain — over and over.
This article made a lot of sense. I am a huge tech nerd. It’s not the electronic toys that have come between me and relationships. I thinks its more of the systematic approach and logical reasoning that makes me relate to this article. My biggest take away and hoping for a used lesson learned, is the point made that relationships are not static and that people evolve. Also that humans ARE distinctive and can be unpredictable. Your article really helped.
Thank you for your very kind words. It makes it all worthwhile…(:
Between you and I, I think tech nerds are really cool – when they have the “human-relations” thing figured out. Best of both worlds!
I know exactly what you’re saying here. I had a good woman that loved me but the computer was my best friend. I lost her and the past few months have been very difficult.