By: Ariel Sheen
Creatively Applying Nietzschean Insights to the Self
The increased capacity of technology, such as smart phones, to immediately get us to information we wish to know or to distract us when we are waiting also has the effect of lowering our patience. A number of social commentators, informed by quantitative surveys, call this quality of development part of a culture of impatience and instant gratification and connect it with increases in levels of stress.
Stress, like technology, is neutral. It has uses at times, but when it is generalized it causes people to show it by their exhibition of impatience, anxiety, impolite social interactions and even physical illness. Such a technology that has been so widely adopted is unlikely to go away, however the negative qualities that it evokes in users that do not resist it need not be there. With practice the technology can come under the control of the user, as it should be, rather than the other way around.
19th century German philosopher and psychologist Friedrich Nietzsche would have classified this dynamic as akrasia, or weakness of will. This does not mean a lack of desire and capacity to fulfill them, but that many people unwittingly come to embody an inconsistency that stems from desires which conflict.
In the case of smart phones and patience, the net effect of accelerating our expectations for the quick fulfillment of our desires is often evident despite the fact that we may admit upon reflection that many times such expectations are unreasonable! Manners, meant to smooth and pacify interactions with people, can be put aside and displays of upset given so as to accelerate the fulfillment of services we need accomplished. However when the situation is reversed, those same people will balk at such same treatment.
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