In earlier writings, we have excoriated the use of electronic devices in lieu of personal communication. The absence of actual person-to-person, interactive experience results in the loss of the comforting recognition of the familiar voice, the loss of ability, when desired, to stress or downplay a point, the ability to console or express empathy or sufficiently express deeply felt emotions. We have described text and e- mail messages as effectively, the mere transmission of data; a far less than satisfactory, substitute for actual, spontaneous interaction. An electronic “friend” is in no way comparable to the benefits of having an available, responsive one.
In the present writing, we are especially concerned with the potential for cognitive loss and, ultimately the resulting atrophy of the ability to reason and problem solve, by reason of the more convenient, and disabling, use of smart phones and other like phenomena. With the exception of computation and directional assistance, the regular use of these handy solution devices has the potential to result in the atrophy of our natural, heuristic capabilities for analysis and problem solving.
Countless people willingly fork over substantial fees to health clubs for the personal privilege of what can functionally be described as hard labor, with the goal of keeping their body fit and in healthy condition so as to enable proper lifetime functioning.
Esoteric subjects are taught at schools, such as calculus, logic and philosophy, to students who will conceivably have no practical use for them in their adult life, but with the admirable goal of training and developing their mind’s cognitive skills.
Human cognition is the active mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, life experience and the senses. Thought or, cognition, is inclusive of understanding meaning, exercising judgment, evaluation, reason, routine computation, problem- solving, decision making, comprehension, and even, speech. It is inarguably true that the thought process uses existing knowledge to generate yet further cognition.
As physical exercise strengthens our physical bodies, so does the study of academic subjects (and esoterica) improve cognition. The expression is, “Use it or lose it.” It would truly be an unspeakable and unpardonable act of ingratitude, in the face of man’s most fortunate gift from evolution, for him to cause this magnificent organ by reason of its non- use to atrophy and become vestigial, like the appendix.
In the earlier critique on electronic communication, we posited the question, “Would you propose marriage by Morse code”? Here, we would imagine a wedding night where, upon the loving invitation to the bedchamber by the bride, the groom responds, “Wait, wait, I have an APP for that.”