Gmail has recently introduced a new feature called "Mail Goggles." Google hopes that this new test-phase feature will save its users "angst" in preventing email regret.
The name "goggles" is derived from the effect of alcohol in impairing ones' ability to think properly before making effective decisions.
In order not to "type tipsy and regret it in the morning," the new feature requires you to solve a few easy math problems before hitting "send." If your logical thinking skills are intact, "Google is betting you're sober enough to work out the repercussions of sending that screed you just drafted."
Gmail engineer Jon Perlow, who designed Goggles with his own weaknesses in mind, says there is no shame in admitting that sometimes you need a little extra help.
"Sometimes I send messages I shouldn't send. Like the time I sent that late night email…" he wrote when announcing Mail Goggles on a company blog.
Reading about Google's new feature made me think how it's not only alcohol that blurs our logical thinking.
When intoxicated by rage or anger…when our vision is impaired by arrogance or self-importance…when our perspective is blurred by jealousy or envy…when our emotions or passions are running amok…At all these times our logical faculties are ineffective.
Perhaps we too need to program in ourselves some kind of "control setting" to make sure we don't drop a comment, or do an act that we will likely later bemoan.
And like Google's goggles, maybe we simply need to strengthen our own built in "tools" of self-control to evaluate whether our response is tinged by too much heated emotion.
Who's in the driver's seat at this point—out-of-control emotions, or calm, rational faculties?
In the heat of the moment it is often hard to compose ourselves enough to come up with an appropriate rational response. But if we can use gmail's template--stop, think and wait to react--many of us would be spared from firing off a statement or becoming enmeshed in an action we'll come to regret.
You can always say it or do it tomorrow, if you still feel the need. But chances are, right now you're being blinded from seeing the situation fully and properly…by your human goggles.