Our Technology, Our Selves

Robert Wright had an almost Ellulian argument in an NYT op-ed recently; he alleges that Prozac and email work together to procrusteanly fit the square pegs of humanity into the round holes of contemporary capitalism.  Here’s the summary:

The reason we’ve always carved out a place for deep human contact is because we deeply need it. Some contours of the mind are so firm they lead us to selectively defy the imperative of growing efficiency. Ultimately, technological evolution has had to accommodate human nature.

Until now. Now we enter the age of pharmacology and approach the age of genetic engineering. We can, in effect, change human nature to accommodate technological evolution. If the deft use of e-mail makes each of us more successful, we may, one by one, amend the structure of our selves until we are the optimal e-mail animals. And so, too, with the next empowering information technology: bend us, shape us, anyway it wants us.

So all those “brain boost” drugs on the horizon may well be a mixed blessing…or, as competitive situations demand, a forced blessing.  The “radical evolution” could come quickly–and, as this review somewhat fancifully suggests, to law schools first.