Sunday, December 30, 2012

Land of the Luddites

For the past two weeks my desk top computer has been non-functional, a reflection of its age, almost eight years old;  when I tell those better versed in modern tech that I just replaced it now, they are gobsmacked, and can't believe that I trusted my clinic data to a machine that by all rights died along with the dinosaurs.

During this last two weeks, before I finally broke and ordered a new super-speedy super-quiet and all around pleasure-to-work-with new computer, I recorded my office data by hand, and checked email on my iPad only  when absolutely necessary.  Turns out, I wasn't missing much in terms of information, and in fact it freed up much of my evening and gave the time and attention back to me and Raphaela, because I wasn't sitting in front of the screen.  Much to my surprise, I survived this lack of access to the Internet, and even went to bed earlier than usual.

In college at Barnard, computers and automated systems were so simple and mostly unguarded by passwords and sophisticated programs, and so it was easy enough to hack, an activity in which my friends and I dabbled.  Today the technology has evolved faster than the blink of an eye, and I can barely use my phone without knowing that my three year old understands it and utilizes it better than I, me with my generational genetic flaw.

I have felt this way about Internet dating for a while now and my brief computer-less experience only reinforces my belief:  technology, while it may contribute to the overall efficiency of the business of globalization , it is not so slowly corrupting the essential experience of the human race. 

We have forgotten how to sit in a room with people we don't know, introduce ourselves and over the long term become friends, and maybe even lovers. 

We have forgotten that people deserve time and space to consider a contract, even if you just sent it by fax or email. 

Classic grammar and spelling is shot to hell.

We have let ourselves become accessible to anyone from anywhere in the world, 24 hours per day, and created an illness for the 21rst century called "Adrenal Overload Syndrome"; our body physically and emotionally does not have enough hours of sleep in order to repair and recover, causing an increase in all sorts of cancers and the eventual collapse of entire organ systems.

Families sit in the same house, separated and isolated, this one texting on the phone, this one checking email, this one watching television.  The concept of going outside to take a walk together or ride a bike down the street has vanished, to be replaced by childhood obesity, increases in ADHD and spectrum Autism and horrific posture.

I appeal to you, my readers and all inhabitants of Gaea:  shut off your phone and your computer, go play outside with someone you love.

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