Sherry Turkle write’s in this week’s Sunday NY Times (The Flight from Conversation) that in the pursuit of connections via technology (email, texting, social media) we are forgetting the slow rhythm and cadence of face-to-face conversations.
FACE-TO-FACE conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions; we dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters. It is as though we have all put ourselves on cable news. Shakespeare might have said, “We are consum’d with that which we were nourish’d by.”
Reading this, I was reminded by an essay I whipped off in Paris last Summer. I was there coming off a two-week holiday. I rented a flat for my family in the Marais district and we spent each delicious day walking the city and drinking in it’s vibrancy. One evening, I think I was amped up on too much espresso and was channelling Keroac, I scribbled the words below, by hand, all in one go. I never even went back to it. But Ms. Turkle’s piece made me think of it again.
I never posted it because I’m a little of embarrassed about it but, hey, it’s a blog so what the heck, indulge me.
The Modern Luddite’s Prayer
The spindled algorithms of our time are optimizing the sinews of humanity. Gnashing life’s great works in the gears of its Engine. These are the Satanic Mills of our generation.
Spitting out matchsticks of knowledge that are mere sulfur-tipped flashes of attention-seeking knowledge, no longer able to light the pyre of change in our mossy, over-grown minds which have been deadened by years of trackpad-enabled twiddling.
We are addicted to the “new” in our Newsfeed but have lost the wisdom of perspective
Supplicants to the superior recall of the internet brain, we slavishly log time on the social media treadmill with a thirst to be first. Dark Times ahead if we continue to blindly submit to the false gods of Real-time and PageRank.
Step away from your monitor, stop stroking your little glass-faced friend. Look into your neighbor’s eyes and wonder at their soul. Smile to the passing stranger on the street and note them for who they are. Feel the warmth and smell of humanity. Marvel at life’s infinite choices.
Live to create, not consume.