It is interesting that both scientific research and life experiences underpin the necessary concept that having meaning and purpose are fundamental needs for our human psyche. Brain health is important – but for what purpose? I would argue it is to discover meaning in ones life and to continue to learn and grow as a human being.
My concern and caution with all the cool technology coming out for brain fitness is that we lose the human factor. It’s great to play a video game to increase cognitive functioning but it’s not so great if our personal focus becomes playing the video game to the detriment of the relationships in our lives. Living with teenage boys – I experience this danger everyday.
It’s cool to have all this monitoring equipment to know when individuals are struggling but the danger is that we allow it to isolate them or give us permission to ignore them – counting on the technology to alert us instead of a human to human interaction. A great innovation for a retirement home or long term care facility is to have sensors to indicate when someone has fallen or is trying to get out of bed. A great temptation is to no longer physically check on individuals, relying instead on the sensors to do the job. What we gain in efficiency we lose in humanity, when the individual in the room feels more isolated and alone because – a sensor is not a friendly face, a sensor does not ask us how we are feeling, in the end a sensor does not care.
So I’m all for technology – with the caveat that it enables human interaction and does not disable it. A computer cannot care – another human being can – and those relationships are what give life meaning.