We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Technology Servitude

Click here to access article by Joel S. Hirschhorn posted on World News Trust.
Everywhere I look outside my home I see people busy on their high tech devices, while driving, while walking, while shopping, while in groups of friends, while in restaurants, while waiting in doctor offices and hospitals, while sitting in toilets -- everywhere. While connected electronically, they are inattentive to and disconnected in physical reality.
I wholeheartedly agree with the author's views of the new electronic, mind-distracting, addictive gadgets. I have sometimes wondered if I was getting to be old-fashioned by rejecting the latest new gadgets; but when I keep looking at the evidence of their use, I can't see any sense in cluttering up my life with them. I am certainly not against new technological innovations, I just want them to be integrated into our lives so that we truly benefit from them.

I live in a beautiful area where there are lots of parks, hiking trails, lakes, etc. I have witnessed a number of people hiking these trails yakking incessantly on their cell phones or absorbed in some other feature of these gadgets. Why would I want that in my life? Recently, while driving to town I was met with an approaching pickup that was heading into my lane. At the last minute I had to turn sharply to avoid a head-on collision, and nearly lost control of my car. Very likely the driver was texting or talking on his cell phone.

I continue to be amazed at the power of modern advertising. We have been inundated with non-stop ads on the boobtube portraying people, sometimes well-know celebrities, who appear to be in a state of ecstasy while playing with their gadgets. The end result is what we see all around us today and as described in the article. What I worry about even more about TV advertising is that they sell us images of ourselves, their interpretations of world events, values, etc.