A little more about my greatest fears–the blessing and scourge of technology

Almost every Sunday, one (or more) of us drive to town to get the Sunday NY Times. Ben likes the news recap and business stuff; I am hooked on their puzzles and feature stories. I always begin with the magazine (that’s where the puzzles are, after all), and it’s a rare week that something in it doesn’t really grab my attention.

 Lately they’ve been running a lot of articles that make me think the editor is sharing some of my deepest, darkest concerns. I mentioned the piece on “nutritionism” in an earlier post. Yesterday’s lead feature is about the spring fashion collections. This is not the sort of thing you would expect to find me particularly interested in. Those who know me personally will attest to the fact that developing a strong fashion sense has never been a high priority. And in my current life, clean jeans and a clean shirt are fancy enough for most things.

But the photo extravaganza was followed by a thoughtful essay that asks the question: “Are we losing our sense of ‘now’ in a combination of a reverance for a dreamy past or anticipation of a flashy future?” The author thinks we are. I would agree.

Technology is a terrific thing. It allows me to stay in touch with folks in whose lives I would otherwise just have been a quick blip on the radar. But the virtual world is no substitute for the real one, and I have a sense that at least for many people, the virtual world is where they find most of their excitement.

So while I consider technology a blessing in many respects, I think it has the potential to be truly isolating in the manner of 1984 or Brave New World. And I think this risks making it a scourge as well. It’s like almost anything else–not bad in and of itself, but dangerous in the uses to which it can be put.

It’s a gorgeous sunny day here, and I’m pretty sure the ealiest of the flowers are blooming, with the next round behind them budded out. I’m going to go check.

4 Responses to “A little more about my greatest fears–the blessing and scourge of technology”

  1. Phil Ferris Says:

    Your comment on living in the now, makes me think of Ray Bradberry.

    I will be paraphrasing but, how I remember it is, he was walking around Beverley Hills on a beautiful evening just for the joy of it. A police car pulled up and questioned him about why he was walking around, just walking around.

    I do love the Zen idea of living in the now, I think it’s why I love haiku so much; that distillation of the essence of a moment.

  2. mklekacz Says:

    Phil, now is the only time we can live. Anything else is basically fantasy. It’s just thaqt many of us don’t realize that and let the “nows” slide right on by. I’m as guilty as anyone else of this, but I’m trying to get better.

    Ray Bradbury was a remarkable old cuss. The last time I saw him at a writers’ conference, he couldn’t even walk. But he was still there participating. “The Martian Chronicles” is a truly wonderful book.

  3. whitishrabbit Says:

    Thought provoking. I’d agree, even in my own family I see people (myself included) sort of phasing out of real life to pursue a game or chat or (in my case) write to blogs. I have heard some chatroom people say they are much more engaged in the lives of their virtual friends then their real friends. I suppose like so many things, moderation is the key. I just purchased a camera, and spent all day out of doors playing with it. I won’t do that every day, but it was so nice to change the routine and really interact with the natural world after the hours spent doing online classes, and interacting in the virtual one.

  4. mklekacz Says:

    Rabbit, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in this stupid screen. Good for you for getting away.

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