…Is that people lose the ability to discern the very purpose of human relationships.
If marriage ceases to be about a lifelong commitment of a man and woman for the good of children and a family, and is simply reduced to a voluntary association of one or more persons for some consensual exchange of fluids, services, or companionship — whether in the long or short term — then marriage ceases to be about anything really, and opens the door to examining one another based upon our utility.
Prioritizing utility permits me to think of all of my relationships in terms of “what does it do for me?” and as soon as I am no longer fulfilled, or I perceive a better opportunity for satisfying my desires, I become free to follow that objective.
So it should come as no surprise that as we “move past” the whole no-fault divorce thing and “affirm and accept” the same-sex marriage idea, we are now finding it difficult to maintain any footing in response to things like polygamy and polyandry. We’re actually asking, in periodicals like “Psychology Today“, inane questions like whether “two actual people” are “still required for a relationship”.
Source: Wikimedia Commons; Author: Cryteria
Because, now that we’ve become so enlightened, so capable of seeing that “love is love”, we can ask some real questions, like isn’t a “relationship” with your “conscious” smartphone operating system possible, and even potentially equivalent to a ordinary human relationship?
In many cases is such a “relationship” not just possible or equivalent, but so much better in so many ways? An adoring voice programmed to serve you surpasses dealing with a real person with feelings and needs of their own! The only reason we do things for each other is so that what we do can be reciprocated, right? Why shouldn’t we be focused on finding ways to avoid having to reciprocate?
For [hip, young people], digital life and real-world life are merely two sides of the same coin, each to be enjoyed, nurtured, and cherished, with neither side more real, more important, or more meaningful than the other…..
…..The next logical step, of course, is robot romance. Scientists have already created robots that can wash your hair, serve you tea, vacuum your house, mow your lawn, and even interact with you socially…..
…..How much longer will it be before Rosie, the walking, talking, emoting robot maid from The Jetsons is real? And what will happen when Rosie’s manufacturer decides she’ll sell better if she looks like a supermodel and has realistic sex-toy genitalia?
And interest in “real” sex? It’s less interesting versus robotic sex toys:
This loss of interest in actual physical intimacy coincides directly with the online sexnology explosion, which began in earnest right around 2008. Some participants in the Japan studies called sex with a real person a bother. Others said they prefer anime characters to the real thing. Still others said that online sex is less unpleasant than actual sexual contact (which involves smells, secretions, and the like). And a very large number admitted to extremely frequent masturbation with porn, thereby satisfying all their sexual needs themselves.
Answering the question “Is this healthy?” is reduced to assessing feelings:
For a lot of people, especially older people, the concept of virtual relationships can be rather disturbing. But for younger people, those who increasingly live their lives half in the digital universe and half in the real world, it’s not upsetting at all……
…..For younger people digital interactions can and often do feel every bit as real and meaningful as meeting someone in-person, whereas for older people this is simply not the case. And who’s to say digital natives are wrong to feel what they feel? For Manti Te’o, even though his girlfriend turned out to be a male perpetrating a hoax, the feelings he had for “her” were quite real. And the feelings that other young people now experience and express to their digital lovers and friends are equally real.
Because, of course, reality is determined by what we feel about it. If I say I have a relationship with my computer, and it speaks to me, and I begin to experience feelings toward it, even romantic ones, this must be an authentic relationship, because it feels like one to me, nevermind that I may never have actually experienced a mutual, sacrificial, loving relationship with a real person.
Human dignity is not about our utility. If it were, we could be erased as soon as we stop being useful, which is exactly what we would do with a computer program. The fact that some of us are already dismissing each other in favor of lines of code encased in machinery does not bode well for the future of human relationships, and is just another technical innovation on the ageless pastime of looking at ourselves in the mirror.
Narcissus died after spending the rest of his life staring at the beauty of his own reflection. By the standards articulated in this new age, he was in a real relationship.