Nov. 1st, 2013

ursangnome: (Default)
I hate my phone.

This is not the normal kind of techie-hate for a device's function, or the everyman's hate for crappy service. My phone and service work quite well, honestly. And, "hate," is probably the wrong word.

I fear my phone.

Or, perhaps more accurately, I have been conditioned to have my phone be a symbol that elicits anxiety.

My wife and I discuss animal training every once in a while, and I know humans often scoff at the idea that it can happen to them. But it is quite clear to me that we are very trainable. And, this also stands as as an example of how negative reinforcement training is a clumsy, unreliable thing. I take no social phone calls to speak of. So, over the past few months, with my wife's injury and attendant insurance issues, major challenges at work, and my mother's declining health, I expect 75% or more of the time, when my phone made any kind of noise, whatever came out of it was going to be a difficulty, or something distressing. Intellectually, I don't associate the problems with the phone, or even the people calling me, but with the situations behind all of it.

But emotionally, I seem to have associated that with the phone. I don't want the phone. I want to forget to charge it, leave it off, leave it behind. I get a little knot in my gut when I think about my phone.

I don't feel the same issue with, for example, my e-mail. The good things in the day, my wife e-mails me about! E-mail is where we arrange gaming sessions, and pleasant social engagements! While there are still problems in my e-mail, I also get good things in there, so it is ultimately positive. My phone is not so lucky.

I only recently consciously realized this has happened. That leaves me wondering how many things I, and people in general, have been conditioned to avoid. Subtly, just under the surface, so that we don't even notice it ourselves. How often is that foot dragging you might see from someone else not laziness, or incompetence, but just negative reinforcement training?

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ursangnome

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