I have already confessed to being a technology junkie. Today Velvet Verbosity has prompted me to question whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
As I begin this exercise, I am caused to turn to technology over and over. I do not have a timer, so I went to the calendar software on my computer and set its alarm for fifteen minutes. I have never been a typist, so I would be in real trouble were it not for the spell check on my word processing software. When the timer goes off, and I have used up my time allotment, I will clean this up and post it out there somewhere in cyberspace – and to think too much about that makes my brain cramp – where all of you can find it. And then I will put a comment on VV, also out there somewhere, to give you an easy road map to the other somewhere the blog lives. And none of this would have happened at all were it not for my ability to bumble about like a vagabond in cyberspace. I wandered “out there” looking for people like me, people who had similar interests, and perhaps different takes on them. And that led me to VV.
Good or bad? Well, were it not for technology, I would have a world around me that was much smaller. My wandering about would perhaps lead me to a reading group at the library, where some might be writers and most probably would not. I might take a writing class at the community college, but I think finding a kindred soul there would be unlikely. It is possible that over years, I would eventually find people like VV and all of you with whom to share this interest in putting words down on paper (oh, wait, there’s no paper involved). I would type this on a typewriter (oops, technology again) or put pen to paper. There would be far fewer words laid down within the 15 minutes, and most likely they would have to be retyped or rewritten to correct the misspellings and sentence fragments and just plain tortured language. Then I might put the finished product into an envelop and mail it to VV, but none of you would likely ever see it.
So far, for me, anyway, it’s all good to have this technology I enjoy.
Has it somehow changed our minds? Sure, no doubt. But is that change bad? Speaking for my mind only, I don’t think so. My mind is no different (OK, yes, older and hopefully wiser) than it was in the 1970s, except that it has more daily “experiences” than were possible back then. It “knows” more people, and has access to so many more points of view.
Am I addicted to my machines, and unable to think without them? I don’t think so. I still spend a good deal of quiet time just thinking. I still read books the old fashioned way (though, that being said… as I write this, my husband is reading the morning newspaper on a Kindle). I still enjoy actually facing human beings and having a conversation with them. I still on occasion use a pen or pencil and paper. I still capture the world around me in ways other than words on the computer, using my camera (oh, oh, it’s digital and the images residing on my computer rarely make it to paper.).
And, alas, my computer just told me, “times up!” Bossy machine.
Post exercise note: There was no way I could post this without cleaning it up first. It was unintelligible. I did not “edit” it, per se, but did run spell check to translate it into English.
After spell check, my cyper-person comes across here as reasonably well-groomed and appropriately dressed (never mind how I am really dressed; one of the other benefits of technology is the ability to write at home in my bathrobe!). Before, it “looked” more like a disheveled and tattered ne’er-do-well from a foreign country. Thank you, Technology, for making me presentable to go out in public.