This will be good news for those of you, like me, who are of an advanced age. The higher functions in the brain deteriorate, but the lower functions – which include the emotions – are as strong as ever.
Perhaps it is more complicated than that, because the functioning of the body, as anyone can see, deteriorates. But somewhere in the middle of the brain, the emotions are still powerful. In other words – our emotional intelligence is still working.
And this is very important – it lets us perceive how the emotional intelligence of the smart guys around us is messed up.
This morning I found Affective Labor on Wikipedia. Which is talking about the same thing. I quote:
No longer does the worker insert a modified natural thing (Naturgegenstand) as middle link between the object (Objekt) and himself; rather, he inserts the process of nature, transformed into an industrial process, as a means between himself and inorganic nature, mastering it. He steps to the side of the production process instead of being its chief actor. In this transformation, it is neither the direct human labour he himself performs, nor the time during which he works, but rather the appropriation of his own general productive power, his understanding of nature and his mastery over it by virtue of his presence as a social body – it is, in a word, the development of the social individual which appears as the great foundation-stone of production and of wealth.
This has some practical ramifications. I am still studying Software Development – not because I will ever be working as a Developer again – but because it interests me. And without half trying, I can see lots of stupidity going on there.
For example, I tried to download the latest Google App Engine SDKs, and found their download page was broken. Fortunately, they have a handy complaint link at the top of the page – as every Web page should – and I told them about their problem. Perhaps they will fix the problem – and keep Google on the top of the heap.
But this should not have happened in the first place – they should have someone like me – who is not too bright, on their team of extremely bright people.
I will take this even further. Our entire Global Economy is based on a Global Culture – which is at the same time very smart and very stupid.
I continue to read Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?. Where it is speaking of a zero-growth economy. I quote again:
The switch to a sustainable economy, wrote Herman Daly in Scientific American in 2005, “would entail an enormous change of mind and heart by economists, politicians, and voters. One might well be tempted to declare that such a project would be impossible. But the alternative to a sustainable economy— an ever-growing economy— is biophysically impossible. In choosing between tackling a political impossibility and a biophysical impossibility, I would judge the latter to be the more impossible, and take my chances with the former.”
The former – clearly perceiving the alternatives available to us – would be easy – if our emotional intelligence had not been overwhelmed by our computer intelligence. The end-result of a whole series of innovations – that took us further and further away from our emotional selves.