Comentarios semanales sobre temas de actualidad por el Dr. Francisco Miraval.
Los comentarios se publican todos los lunes, en inglés y en español. Visite los archivos ("Archives") para leer los comentarios anteriores.
Weekly commentaries by Dr. Francisco Miraval on different topics of interest.
Commentaries are posted every Monday, in English and Spanish. Please, read our previous commentaries in the Archive section.
Dr. Francisco Miraval
Somebody recently told me that, because everything is changing so fast and those changes are so deep, it is time for us, humans, to re-invent ourselves and, more specifically, we need to âre-engineeringâ ourselves to change what we should change and to improve what we should improve in each of us.
At first, I liked the proposal. I thought it was both timely and thoughtful. After all, we al want to be better persons and live better lives. And if we canât achieve those goals in the current context we are part of, then we should re-invent ourselves, transform ourselves in such a way that day after day we get closer to our goals.
Yet, almost immediately I began to think that âadapting to a new environmentâ and âreinventing oneselfâ are not the same thing. In other words, whatâs the point of trying to adapt to a system where we get not benefits and we are disconnected from the system because the system itself is marginalizing us?
Let me put it this way: we should not confuse the urgency to re-invent ourselves, so we can improve ourselves with âreinventingâ ourselves only to become somebody else or something else, thus losing our own identity and becoming the opposite of what/who we wanted to be. Unfortunately, thatâs what is happening to many of us with seemingly unstoppable frequency.
Experts have a name for that situation. They call it an âecological trapâ, that is, an environment we are adapted to live in, but that is harmful for us. We, humans, fall in that trap day after day to the point we eventually accept something as ânormalâ just because we see it, hear it, or face it every day.
According to a recent study published by Dr. Nathan Kleist in the Proceedings of the Nacional Academy of Sciences, some species of birds in the Western states now live in areas with a high level of noise and contamination (both created, of course, by humans).
Those birds âreinventedâ themselves to live in their new environment, but in the process, they developed such a high a level of stress that they lose weight, lose physical aptitude, and become unable to take care of themselves or care the next generation. Of course, this is very similar to what is happening to us, human, in our lives and families.
Learning how to survive inside an âecological trapâ is not the same as âreinventing oneselfâ, because surviving in a harmful environment only means to prolong a painful agony, knowing very well the agony will continue in the next generations.
By the way, among humans, the âecological trapâ stressing us out is known by many names, including âsocietyâ, âeconomyâ, âschoolâ, and others. For that reason, Kafka was right when he described modern humans as repugnant self-conscious monstrosities, but no longer as humans.
Perhaps, then, we should not try to âreinventâ ourselves. Perhaps we just need to become humans and to accept others as humans, hoping it is not too late.Â