Prologue: Instant Goldfish

It is said that goldfish only have a memory span of three-seconds. Although a common misconception, we humans may as well be the misconstrued goldfish. The word of the day is "efficiency" and therein lies the issue.

Instant coffee, instant tea, instant meal, instant soup, instant pick-me up, instant stress-relief, instant beauty, instant health, instant fame, instant get-rich-quick, instant personality, instant satisfaction, instant happiness, instant love; what is next?

"Efficiency- performing or functioning in the best manner possible with the least waste of time and effort, satisfactory and economic use."*-Dictionary. Efficiency may work in the context of objects, tasks, and even skills. You can be efficient at making a meal by purchasing a microwavable frozen dinner. You can be efficient at learning by setting aside time for study and hiring a tutor. And this leads us to believe that we can be efficient with regards to people including ourselves. This is the fatal mistake.

People are complex, complicated, capabable of being irrational, illogical, and creative. Humans are innately curious and social creatures. And although we are apt at teaching language, mathematics, physics, astronomy, anatomy, etc.; there is no class on human interaction. The learning of this skill is highly dependant on early experience, miming, mirroring, and adult supervision in the form of parents, pre-school, and camp conselors. The major influence here is the family social group. And social groups are often flawed due to the fatal mistake.

Complicating the problem is human perception. Perception is shaped by a variety of complicating factors like genes, environment, country origin, demographic, etc. The external objective world must go through processing before registering in our heads. In some sense, we've all got on a pair of rose-colored glasses. Its just that each of us has a unique shade. And when we try efficiency with people, ideas clash violently instead of melding together seamlessly.

In a society where teen pregnancy rates are up, increasing divorce rates, economic hardship, strained family relations, and chilling statistics of depression and suicide; perhaps it is time to consider an alternate word of the day.

Goldfish have a memory span of at least three months. They can be trained to recognize differences in shape, sound and color. Humans were discontent with the original three seconds and decided to conduct further research. We should not be content with being likened to a misunderstood goldfish either.