Sunday, December 18, 2011

* Digital Tailoring

        The Age of Individuation:

Professor DATA  v. Dr. Spock

The Age of Individuation is about to descend upon us. The advent of Brain Based Learning techniques means every kid in public school will have an Individual Learning Plan based on what parts of his/her brain fire-up in reaction to x, y, and z  “educational” stimuli.  The decoding of the human genome and increasing prevalence of genetic code analysis means every patient will have an Individual Health Plan based on what parts of  his/her code are missing or distorted. Doctors will become genetic tailors, cutting and sewing DNA garments to fit each client.

Health and education will become matters of conspicuous consumption.: Armani, Gucci, and  Saks Fifth Avenue creations down to K-Mart  and Wal-Mart  discount choices.

You already know who the winners will be.

This Age of Individuation may be a wonderful advancement.

Or, it may not.

The danger lies in what psychiatry used to call “morbid introspection.”  If we replace the insouciant  naivete  and  blithe spontaneity of childhood with recipes for learning and for health which parents use to “cook” their child into the perfect culinary creation, we may be in danger of making kids so self conscious, so analytical, that we destroy the very notion of childhood itself.

And replace it with depression.

Part of the problem is that parents have already abdicated their intuitive parenting skills and knowledge to the digital gods of DATA. 

 They have replaced Dr. Spock with  Professor DATA.

 If this partial abdication becomes complete and the world of parenting is turned over to the digital deities, the sense of family and of selfhood may be thrown out the  window with the bathwater.

We may be on the verge of creating a world of highly educated, extremely healthy depressed children, who enter adulthood with an existential loneliness which no digital god -- and no hand-held touch screen -- may be able to fill.

And if you add conspicuous consumption to the recipe--- the problem  of anomie becomes even more depressing.

We need pause to seek higher ground --------- before the digital tsunami overwhelms us.

Paul D. Keane
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

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