Some people wonder about the practicality of philosophy in modern times. What is the point of philosophical humanism in an age dominated by mechanically enhanced mathematical formulae?
In my view, this dawn of mechanized thinking has trapped free thinking, human metaphysical spaces, or more simply put, the mind into a tight binary of two dimensional thinking.
It is true that the mind typically has a limited capacity to hold several ideas at one time. Advanced mathematics require that people use pencil paper and/or computerized support to solve problems. The human brain also requires an externalizing process that helps us to list, view, contemplate, analyze and examine the multiple layers to problems.
Increased “binarization” of code to solve problems for us has resulted in the neglect of higher order nuanced thinking required to creatively solve problems that directly impact all of us. In my naive experience of technology, computer coding is based on a simple 0-1 formula. I like to remind folks that I began my social work career before the technological revolution. I worked with people before the dawn of emails, platform based clinical recordings, and computer generated assessment tools.
Of course, there have been some benefits to the explosion of apps, assessment and recording platforms, emails, digitally enhanced voice recording systems, and more. There have also been new problems that we are only now learning more about.
I have always found the people need safe spaces to contemplate various options they have in life and a person with whom they trust to talk through these various options without judgment or prejudice.
This externalizing function of talk-based counselling offers the mind an objective human interaction that helps people to develop a framework for first understanding what is going on and what they feel and understand about it, followed by how to move forward on what to do about it.
This sophisticated process of human problem solving is never binary. People always have more than a couple of ways to “think” about a problem and to solve personal issues. The cognitive overload created by too many options, too much text, and too much sensory information is clearly compromising the mental and psychological wellbeing of people.
The binary framework created by computer dominated coding has also stressed the natural problem solving processes that we all use when confronted with emotionally intense situations, ideas, or experiences.
An integrated health model recognizes that people benefit from a continuum of care that includes counselling, physical exercises, diet, sleep, and spiritual practices. A binary perspective of health views people as well or unwell; healthy or sick; mentally healthy or mentally unhealthy; addictive or non-addictive. A binary perspective is identified by the word “or” and the exclusion of “and” in conversation and in printed form. It never truly reflects the reality of a person’s situation.
The reality of health however is more akin to a seesaw or teeter totter where some areas of health are compromised at specific times and under certain situations. The goal of health is to ensure that we have access to services when needed to help maintain or restore balance in all areas of wellness including sleep, diet, attitude, and relationships at home, school, work or in the community.
As a seasoned therapist, I am not at all surprised by the increase in anxiety and depression created by the pace and limited metaphysical space for the human mind and brain to thrive. I am totally pro-technology. But we are NOT there yet!
We have created a brave new world for our children and grandchildren. A highly sensory sensitive environment that increases pressure on healthy brains without developing health services to address new problems that appear as trauma related symptoms, increased anxiety and depression, decreased physical movement, and poorer eating habits and family meal times. Is it ethical to continue to use tools, devices, or processes that may harm otherwise healthy brains?
Integrative health models offer individuals and families with a continuum of care providers when needed that work to restore balance before an injury or illness interferes with work, family, or personal functioning.
All people deserve access to a range of health services that help all of us maintain our wellness in all areas over a lifetime. I believe it is time that we respond accordingly.