Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Technology addiction

There was an article posted yesterday at Information Clearinghouse by a West Virginia writer, Charles Sullivan, who lays out a good case for being ambivalent about the effects of electronic technology on how we organize, both socially and politically. Here's an excerpt:

"The pervasive addiction to complex technology has led to the evolution of a passive consumer culture that is incapable of acting in its own self-interest. It has rewired the human brain and significantly reduced attention spans. As a result, skills such as reading and writing are diminishing. Intricate social interaction is on the wane. People are becoming increasingly withdrawn and isolated from their neighbors and from their communities. They are alienated from nature. People inhabit virtual worlds because they no longer possess the psychological capacity, spiritual fortitude, and social skills required to live authentically in the actual world.

We Americans are being entertained to death. Having lost our visceral connection to nature, we can no longer differentiate between the real and the artificial. We think that we can believe whatever we want, regardless of the facts, and that ignorance will somehow protect us from the consequences of false consciousness. We ignore the exponential effect of witlessness at our own peril.

Behaving as if the laws of physics do not apply to the actual world does not bode well for our long term survival. We choose to live with our heads up our asses rejecting reality because it is too complex for us to comprehend. Being informed makes us too uncomfortable. Knowledge and understanding are too burdensome. Possessing them would require us to live better and simpler lives, and that requires too much effort. We do not crave a life of meaning and purpose but a life of ease stretched out on the sofa drinking beer, eating cheese and watching TV. "

Like most of you, I'll be stretched out on the sofa tomorrow, but still craving a life of meaning and purpose. Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you travelers enjoy your pat-downs. Baaa.

--Michael Hasty

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