Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gadgets of Our Time -- part II

The comments I have received from my friends about "The Gadgets Of Our Time" were so convincing, so well thought of and so well written that I have decided to republish them and I hope you will enjoy what they had to say as much as I did.

Linda Ramsey said...
There is plenty to say about cyber-involvement these days. Or, should I say "lack of involvement" in real life? It is the rare person who can walk down the street without calling, answering, texting, listening to music, or twittering. How about those that are glued to facebook, emailing, Skyping, online porn, instant messaging, watching tv programs online, and "reading" kindle books? There is no question that these cyber connections result in obesity, inability to write a letter, lack of conversational communication, inability to write a story in longhand, lack of imagination, lack of outdoor play and exercise, and the like. Who needs a mouth anymore? All we need is cyber access and a pair of thumbs! HA! Do you recall the images of aliens with a small body, huge eyes and no mouth? Is this far off for us? It is enraging to see communication take this radical twist. We are developing a nation of solitary hermits who are quickly losing their innate skills! As long as there is an emotionally disconnected "voice" at the other end of an electronic device many are happy. But truly--how can they be happy? Did you know that there is no longer an emphasis on teaching students how to write longhand anymore? I forsee a huge amount of depression and related diseases affecting our modern times as a result. There is a huge need for humans to connect to others in an active manner. We need hugs, we need comforting, we need encouragement to bloom. How will this happen when our companions are "black boxes", with or without cords? Can you see yourself cozying up to a monitor and keyboard on a cold night? I don't think so. There is no subsitute for human companionship. In my world there is no worry that I will give up my "old fashioned" ways. I love to see the expression on a friend's face as I share good news. And know that a family member is holding my birthday card and letter in their hands. I will continue to use my cell phone at MY convenience and not allow that device to interrupt any time with family or friends. And driving will never be the place to phone or text when my mind is concentrating on the road. The computer is part of my professional life and a quick ability to email a friend--however, it will not steal away hours from my daily existence. TV will never fill in for a leisurely walk in the neighborhood or a favorite hiking trail. Our civilization must keep its eyes and ears open for new technology and new ways of doing--but not at the expense of our basic rights of life. All forms of communication have their place, and most new avenues are acceptable in moderation. Let's just stay AWARE.

James Doering said...
We have high definition TV and another push for 3d in new technologys yet the highest definition and best 3d is a walk in nature, getting outside and getting active.

Anonymous said...
Dear Micheline, I just read your blog on The Gadgets of our Time and I could not agree more with you that these "gadgets" (and I use one of them, a cell phone) are getting in the way of our person to person communication. I have also observed at times a family at a restaurant where the kids were all busy either texting (and what an absolute nuisance that has become) or playing with their playstations or whatever those things are called. I was taking the son of a friend (11 years) to Flagstaff recently, trying now and then to have a conversation, but was constantly silenced because he was in the middle of some game or other. I have often talked to Suzanne about this and I think it is a rather sad development in our society, that conversation has gone south. I know there will be and are families that still have their meals together without interruption, but I think they are in the minority. And I absolutely agree that obesity plays into this also, kids are too busy watching TV, playing with their gadgets, and not having any imagination left to start playing from scratch. Anyway, thanks for writing this. Love Brenda

Anonymous said...
Dear Micheline, I agree totally with what you said and also with the followers comments...we are in the era of "communications"(?) but nobody communicate with each other anymore. It is very sad and I can see already the results of that lack of communication all around me. There is more & more problems in schools, in workplaces and everywhere people are killing others and themselves, why do you think that is? Lack of communication and understanding of life in a society...and it will get worst as these youngsters get older, they will treat their family like trow away elctronics. But this has started long ago with the radio for example...I remember wanting to have a nice, peaceful time at the beach with a friend or my husband and beeing blasted by someone next to me with a radio full blast in my ear...forget listening to the waves or the seagulls and all the wildlife, we had to move very far for that music(?) not to hit us with that aweful noise. And there is nothing you can say about it because they don't have any respect for anybody but themselves...the lack of respect is all over. But the parents don't seem to care either, so where can we go to find peace & quiet and a nice conversation with friends or family?... I have a cellphone, but it's like my home phone, and I don't ever answer while driving, it's against the law here anyway, and I put it on silent when I'm with friends,that's what voice mail is for,isn't it? Thank you for your article, Love Micheline in LC

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Gadgets of our Time

I was at a restaurant and a family was sitting close to me.  Each one of its members was busy fidgeting with a cell phone.  Texting, or seeing something on the web or playing some game.  They were entranced by their phones until food was served.  Then there was silence as they ate.  Was it typical?

Wherever I go, people talk to their phone, very often in a loud voice, so I can hear everything they say.  So many loud voices!

I wait in line at the post office and despite the sign saying no cell phones, the phones ring and I end up next to a lady busy having a private conversation that all can hear.

Others seem like lunatics as they cross by you loudly talking to ... no one it seems, until you notice the phone -- on their ear.

Do you go walking sometimes?  MP3 players are attached to someone's ears and they are too busy listening to hear your steps.  My husband and I passed a very erratic driver and I looked through his window and he was not looking at the road but was busy texting and we all know of the dangers of texting while driving. An accident is harm to one self but also to others plus the damage to property.

Children play with X-Boxes and communicate this way with each other.  It is interesting.  The gadgets of our time have us hooked to their convenience and their appeal.

It could be a laptop or mini-laptop or some of these gadgets to read a downloaded book.  I wonder if there is a connection between the obesity in America and the fact that many of us stay inactive playing with our gadgets.

We are the generation that has no refuge for our thoughts.  Any time the phone can ring and reach you no matter where you are.  Driving?  Yes it will reach you.  Talking to friends?  The phone will ring.  On vacation?  The phone is at your waist or in your purse.  No matter what you are doing, the phone is the constant companion that will emit this ring tone (often loud) of your choice and you will feel compelled to answer or to text.  Most of the time.

I am of a generation when none of these things existed.  Lunch or dinner was an opportunity to talk and listen.  Families would exchange ideas and I remember lively conversations with my parents. Family events were so important because the whole tribe was around and talked and told old stories and new ones that made us laugh. We talked and we listened.  Children played with each other, got angry, fought and laughed -- outside.  There was not the danger of being abducted, being killed, or maimed.  Such things were rare.  We were safely outside playing-- with each other.

Has all of this gone with the wind?  I do not think so.  But the gadgets of our times have us prisoners of their convenience and they never seem to rest.  All day they are present, reminding us of work, of others, of cyber beings of other realities that never existed before.  We can embody a whole new identity in cyberspace.  Is that good?  Perhaps and perhaps not.  Those gadgets drag us to their realm whether we are in a car or at the office or at home.  Scientists are already looking into our addictions and telling us that it often stills our creativity.

Multitasking is another fallacy of our time since the brain only tackles one thing at a time.  Do we    go rapidly from one thing to the other?  Yes we do, and it looks like multitasking even though it is not.

I use no cell phone, no texting, and go in a car with my brain and my thoughts.  I can imagine, dream, recall,  anticipate, feel, grieve or rejoice at will.  I use the uninterrupted silence of my mind as a canvas where my ideas and creativity take place.

At home I get the phone when it rings and use my beloved e-mail, but besides taking my laptop on business trips, I feel free and guess what?  I also talk with friends if we are together at a dinner table.  Life is so full of events, of happenings; I feel full, much too full of news, full of facts to digest and things to delete.  That is enough for me.

But let the gadgets of our time beckon and who know?  I may not be able to resist.

Copyright 2010 Micheline Brierre
Editing by Barry Kaplan