The more I work with clients and get the opportunity to observe people, the more I notice what I call 'invisible structures'. Some of these are mental structures, like "working a job 5 days a week is normal and necessary". Some are physical, like your house. It's not physically invisible, but the house exists in the background with no thought about what effect the structure has on YOU and your behavior.
Let's examine the cell phone, as it's become so ubiquitous as to be invisible to us. The cell phone has created an unprecedented ability to communicate with other humans! That's probably why we love them so much. Sapiens have high communication and connection needs. However, the phone creates certain habits.
Physically, cell phones encourage the user to spend time with arms bent, hands holding the device and neck bent downward in order to see the object. The more we use the object, the more time spent in this particular position - which is not an evolutionary use of the body to say the least. Additionally, cell phones emit EMFs (electro-magnetic frequencies) that are not in alignment with normal human or Earth magnetic frequencies. Some early research is showing that these waves disrupt various human functions. The more exposure we have to WIFI, 3 and 4G networks and cell phones being carried on the body, the more EMF exposure the body has to process (and we really don't know the results of this experiment at this point, but it isn't looking good).
Socially, cell phones appear to reduce human-to-human contact in social settings. People are more apt to interact with their phone in an elevator, park or bar than with the people who are physically present. I am starting to wonder how many missed dates, mates and friendships are lost to this new behavior.
Mentally, the truncated nature of information and interactions (limited by cell phone size and capacity) is likely not helping to expand attention span (thanks Twitter) or the ability to read and orate (I'll blame that on Facebook). In the digital world, so many pieces of information are bite-sized, highly opinionated and unsupported by any evidence or rational conversation.
I probably haven't even touched the surface on how this object is driving behavior. But I wanted to spark some thought about the structures we interact with - mentally and physically - especially the ones we are NOT thinking about. They all have an effect. Cars, homes, offices, cities...evaluate each one in turn and consider how it is affecting your ability to meet your evolutionary obligates (last post, click HERE).