Posted by: pcordell | November 17, 2012

For every gain, something is lost.

After reading The Shallows (Carr, 2010), surely all of us have become determinists, or believe technology changes the way we think and grow.  For instance, one only has to consider the earliest inventions of alphabets, writing and mathematics.  We are profoundly different because of the influence of these concepts on our brains and bodies.  Consider a world without all the inventions built upon the concept of mathematics and we wouldn’t recognize ourselves — no engineering of bridges or skyscrapers, no monetary systems, therefore no capitalism,  and no planes, trains or automobiles.  We would still be living in tiny villages and getting much more exercise.

Most people don’t think of time as an artificial construct, and for much of history (and still in many third world countries) thinking in terms of daily, hourly, minutely, is an idea many cultures haven’t observed.

When living in Miami, I learned that a 10 a.m. appointment with a Caribbean islander meant “some time before noon.” A 3 p.m. press conference in the Cuban community or with our Cuban mayor actually meant a 6 p.m. press conference.  Our assignment desk scheduled reporters based on this disregard for metered time.

For every technological advancement, we’ve lost something important in our society and for ourselves.  With the invention of time, haven’t we lost control over our lives?  Don’t we now submit to the tyranny of others’ expectations?  And with the advent of telecommunications, haven’t we lost even more control – over peace of mind, the richness of solitude and pure individuality?

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