Saturday night at an at outdoor concert were the ingredients for a perfect evening: balmy weather, talented musicians, a vibrant audience. During the first set, behind us a group of men were hooting wildly over an app one had shared with the others, followed by a loud and extended discussion on predicting Facebook responses. To my right a woman tapped at her glowing screen; in front of me another couple checked their photos from earlier in the day. A number of people were viewing the performance from behind the safety of their video-recording phones.
Sunday morning at a local coffee shop I watched a couple having brunch, their baby parked securely in a stroller. Between bloody marys and mouthfuls of food, the husband kept reading his messages and texting; the wife tapped at her screen. At another table a very old grandmother and a mother sipped at their martinis while the teenager tapped beneath the table at her phone.
As we mediate our experiences via technology, we hold our experiences and each other at arm's length. Our constant separation of ourselves from the moment at hand is the collateral damage of technological innovations. As if we're terrified of being alone and still with ourselves. As if we need a safety valve of distraction while with others.
During a class this summer a student corrected a
misconception of mine regarding the Amish. "They're not against
technology," he said, "they're against any technology that separates
them from God."
Sign me up. Just because it's new and shiny, doesn't mean it's progress.
Thoughts? Quibbles? Corrections?
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