Terminology Course: March 6, 2014

Wall_E Humans

In this session, a few videos were presented to create a discussion: Andrew McAfee’s “Of Hellabytes and Recombinant Innovation: The Second Machine Age”, Shawn Achor’s “The Happy Secret to Better Work”, and Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.”

McAfee’s talk discusses the rapid advancement of technology. And though it seems we’ve seen it all, this is just a warm-up of what’s to come. Better yet, new technology will bore us. Something like an autonomous car will astonish us, at first. After a while, though, it will bore us to death.

This idea reminds me of the movie Wall-E, where all the humans living in outer space in the year 2800 or so are shown sitting permanently in these floating chairs talking to hologram screens and slurping smoothies, while getting fat and getting more and more bored than ever.

But hopefully, some other technological advancement will better fulfill our lives and curb our propensity to become bored.

Either this or the positive psychology approach taken by Shawn Achor in his TED talk will do.

Mr. Achor proposes taking advantage of happiness to turn it into success. To achieve this, every opportunity should be taken to channel positive energy as often as possible.

I don’t have the time or space in this blog to offer a counter argument for Achor’s ideas. But, as a matter of principle, I am skeptical of psychologists in general. I can only say that happiness depends on so many variables that it seems to me practically impossible to prescribe formulas to every person. This world is simply full of injustice and inequality, yet we go on with our lives and look the other way because we don’t want our happiness ruined by someone else’s problems. Therefore, I don’t need somebody telling me to keep looking the other way, because I’m already aware that this is what I do, as soon as I get up in the morning.

The last talk by Brené Brown had to do with the way we perceive ourselves. Do you ever feel unworthy, ashamed, fearing life or people? Well, there is a solution, says Brown. Learn to accept your imperfections, be kind to yourself, try to connect to others, and embrace vulnerability. Brown herself lived this experience and, eventually, she got a spiritual awakening.

Again, I remain skeptical about Brown’s suggestions. For some people, a discussion full of positive advice may very well help them with their lives. To me, accepting yourself seems to be a process that many people already go through as they age, regardless of having somebody telling them what to do.

Videos Cited:

McAfee, Andrew. “Of Hellabytes and Recombinant Innovation: The Second Machine Age.”

Achor, Shawn. “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”

Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability.”

Image: Wall-E, 2008.

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