HomeNet could be (and has been) interpreted as an indictment of the internet, or screens, or modern communications technology in general. In truth, it illustrates a much simpler truth about love and happiness: Technology that crowds out our real-life interaction with others will lower our well-being and thus must be managed with great care in our lives. In order to reap their full benefits, we should use digital tools in ways that enhance our relationships.
~ Arthur C. Brooks from, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/09/technology-happiness-communication-relationships/671586/
I’m reminded of some comments by Rafe Kelley.
If junk food is flavor divorced from nutrition, then pornography is sexuality divorced from the context of relationships. Video games are thrill divorced from physicality. And so you take these boys who have this inherent aggression and you let them play Fortnite, and they can play all day without any self-regulation from having the physical demands of actual rough and tumble play. The problem is that it so easily out-competes the actual thing that we need, which is the real physical play.
~ Rafe Kelley from a video short from an Instagram post, so I’ll just link you to his Evolve. Move. Play. project.
Brooks and Kelley are talking about different technologies, but I think they’re both pointing toward the “divorce” being the actual issue. The arrival in the living room (mentioned by Brooks) divorced [I’ll say] the mental stimulation from the other people in the house.
There was, however, a big difference between what he did and what we “real movers” were doing. The baseball player did not perform this moment just to perform it. The player did it to solve the problem of having to catch a screeching line drive, probably traveling over 100 mph. He then rapidly returned to a strong throwing position and volleyed that ball to first base. His movement solved a problem, and a very difficult one at that.
~ Rafe Kelley from, https://www.evolvemoveplay.com/the-4-primary-movement-problems/
A blog post from Kelley is more rare than his Evolve Move Play podcast. He’s definitely someone whose ideas resonate with me. His through-line, not just in this article but in all of his more recent work, is definitely the right way to look at things. I like the phrase “fit for purpose” and that’s a line of enquiry Kelley is often chasing down.
People think of that complexity as an expression of our capacity for abstract thought. We believe our brains are so complex because of the wonders we can build in our minds. Make no mistake, we can build wonders in our minds but what we have neglected is that those wonders are boot strapped on top of motor control. The first purpose of the brain is to guide movement.
~ Rafe Kelley from, https://www.evolvemoveplay.com/the-why-of-movement-practice/
And the second purpose it to solve problems in the physical world. (How do I go over there? How do I avoid that danger? How do I get food?) To solve problems you need to be able to define what the problem is. You define any problem by imagining some desired state (I am over there. I have avoided that danger by running. I have eaten that food.) and then looking for options that can get you from the current state, to the desired state. So it turns out that the better your imagination is, the better you can be at solving problems. Faced with endless options, you mind turns out to be really good at heuristics—making estimations in advance with limited knowledge (prejudice can be a good thing; assuming snakes are not friendly is an excellent heuristic.) All of which makes possible the beauty and diversity of our lives. Fortunately, we have a capacity for reason atop all of that which enables us to make choices so the possibility of beauty and diversity can be our a reality. I digress.
Back to Kelley’s point, if the entire edifice of our minds is built upon that first purpose, what happens if we starve the mind of the physical engagement?