the addiction of arousal

The rather infamous Psychologist Philip Zimbardo recently gave a compelling, if not alarming, TED talk about the challenges boys face in terms of developing interactive relationships.  Boys are becoming addicted to arousal.  And like any addiction, it leads to an increased isolationism, confusion between porn and love, and difficulties in traditional, interactive settings.  There is much to be debated, but also much to be considered about the way that boys brains are being "digitally rewired."  He stated, "Guys prefer a synchronistic internet world to the spontaneous interaction of social relationships."

Ironically perhaps, as I'm mulling over the implications of half of a population that could increasingly struggle with fidelity, I'm reading the writings of Jean Vanier.  The founder of L'Arche, a network of homes and centers inhabited by people with dissabilities and caregivers, Vanier suggests that true life is found in the intimacy of true relationships and a loving embrace of people within community.


  1. Ken, I love Vanier. I wonder if it is possible that the problem with our boys is that they don’t know what true community looks like? For many of them, their “community” is online (internet, gaming, etc.). As such, they only understand relationships in the sense of what gives me pleasure or fulfillment, not recognizing that often relationships also are demanding sacrifice on our part.
    Perhaps part of our job as youth workers is to help re-define community for males and then find creative ways to invite them into it.

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