Thoughts After Neurobiology Conference in New York
In October I attended a neurobiology conference that focused on “Attachment.” Neuroscience has shown that a human’s brain, which controls the central nervous system and therefore the entire body, depends upon good, emotionally-responsive human connection in order to develop and thrive. When our deep relationships go haywire, we go haywire. Establishing emotional connection between myself and a client is at the heart of how I work. It comes from years of training as well as an instinctual sense that what people really want is to be understood by another person who cares.
Shortly after I returned from my trip, I stumbled upon a news article about recently-developed androids that are being created to be as human-like as possible. Their “skin” is flexible, they can smile, they blink intermittently, make jokes, etc. Their inventors hope that eventually, these androids can learn new algorithms from human interactions, and communicate these algorithms to other androids through the cloud. The hope is that androids will surpass humans in their sophistication, intelligence, and even compassion!!
Now, of course, I’m impressed by the ingenuity that leads to technological advances, but—sheesh! Everything I hold dear in my heart has to do with emotional connection in relationships. Emotional connection requires animal instincts, which is why I can’t get excited about a world in which my human instincts are forced to look into the “eyes” of an android and interact as if that android were really human. It never will be, in my humble opinion. But I’m pretty sure I’ll have no choice but to interact with androids. Here we go…
Still, I’ll be a “little warrior” for establishing emotional connection based in human (and animal!) instincts so long as I’m here. While relationships hurt more than anything else in life when the go awry, they also bring the most reward. It’s a gamble I’m willing to make each time I try to make contact with another instinctual being.