I began studying emotions in earnest after my mom died in October of 2012. Up to that point, I thought emotions were messy, illogical and got in the way. I pushed mine down as much as I could. I remember explicitly shutting them off one night when I was 16. I couldn’t continue with the intense emotional pain in my life. I could not let myself be hurt anymore. Since I couldn’t change much in my life then, I changed myself, eliminating my emotions.
It didn’t work. My emotions would come back up anyway – usually in a volcano of expression. Most of the time I managed this privately, but not always.
I have always been criticized for being “too emotional.” I hated that criticism. I hated being emotional. I hated myself. Having these problematic emotions. I learned – especially in business – emotions were bad. Except for positive emotions – like passion for the product – that was desired. But don’t you dare show a negative emotion.
But, Emotion is Human.
Bruce Schneier said, at his 2015 SxSW talk, “When we interact with machines, data is created.” I’d go so far as to say, when anything interacts with a machine, including other machines, data is created. But what happens when you interact with humans?
“When you interact with humans, emotions are created.” -moi
It in the year after my mom’s death, decades of fermented emotions uncorked. Like a slow hiss of escaping carbonated liquid, they foamed to the top and coagulated in the air of 2013 and 2014. Facing these decades of rawness, I, dove deep into the fetid effervescence.
It’s hard to believe it’s 2015 sometimes. Those months from October 2012 till March 2013 burn darkly – fresher than reality.
Earlier this year I interviewed Brenda Laurel. At the end of our two hour conversation she said something I can’t stop thinking about. I’ll paraphrase. You can listen to her words directly in a few weeks on our upcoming podcast.
“People think technology is the other. But technology is people!” -Brenda Laurel
She goes on to explain that technology is not separate from ourselves, but another aspect. To distinguish it as “the other” is to deny it is part of us.
I was reminded of this the other day, when I was on the phone to change my phone plan. Being frustrated by the robotic voice phone chain. I took a deep breath. This was not a robot. This was a human aspect – the technology so limited, it required me to modify myself.
How much more pleasant it was to interact with the human man through the technology. If I pulled back perspective, I was talking to myself, helping myself – with technology and other humans. It was kind of amazing!
Technology today lacks emotional touch points. That will change. It is already changing. It’s this change that drives my interest in wearable technology – some of the most intimate technology we have available to us today. And it’s why I did an interview series on the Future of Wearables.
As technology becomes better at emotional interactions, we humans will expand our emotional capacity. We’ve already augmented our logical intelligence. Emotions are next.