Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hamlet's Blackberry

I have just finished reading this book, which explores the way in which we modern folk have become tethered to our "screens" in so many myriad ways.  This was a convicting and at the same time enlightening and encouraging read for me.  I often wonder if I might be too connected, too dependent on my electronic doo-dads, and if so, what effect this is having on my soul.  How do I deal with this new electronic culture, and what effect is it having on us all?

As it turns out, this problem is not new, it's as old as humankind. 

The author, William Powers, takes us on a journey into the past, exploring the writing, thoughts, and cultures of Plato, Seneca, Gutenberg, Shakespeare, Ben Franklin, and even Henry David Thoreau.

What do these figures from history and literature have to teach us about dealing with our laptops, desktops, IPads, Droids, and Blackberry's, and even each other?  Quite a great deal, it seems.  Is it all bad?  No.  Is it nothing but goodness?  No, not that either.

And why is it that we are constantly gazing into these gadgets?  What is their magnetic appeal upon our lives?  In a word, affirmation and recognition.  We return over and over to Facebook pages, Tweets and blogs to find out if people like us, or love us, or even if they notice what we just said or tweeted.  This need for electronic affirmation, and how this affects us is powerful stuff. 

But maybe what we really need to be asking ourselves, as Williams Powers so effectively does in his book, is .........Really?  Can't we just be.  Here.  Now?

I don't think for a second that the Windows Phone will free us at all, its just the same as the others.  However, the idea here is just brilliant......

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