Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I was reading this article in the New York Times this morning about the way our brains have adapted (or tried to adapt) to the new technologies in our lives, and it was disheartening. I despise technology--there, I said it. I despise social networking sites, I despise all-in-one gadgets, I despise video games, and I have a very love/hate relationship with my easy access to information. I don't hate the fact that I can read the NYT online, but it turns me into a clicking machine and I don't absorb as much as I might if I were interacting with a physical newspaper over a cup of coffee in the morning. This is probably because I am usually multi-tasking: work on one screen, news on the other. I use it as a kind of brain exercise to keep my mind intellectually engaged while I perform monotonous tasks for the sake of a paycheck. And I can't help but think, This is not the life I want. This is not the world I want to live in.

It's difficult to find a balance. But more and more I'm discovering that I don't want to balance. I just don't even care anymore. I want to bend my mind around information the old-fashioned way--by reading books (with actual pages) and having discussions with real people, face-to-face (instead of through g chat or text messaging). My life was so much more full when I lived in the world, when I trained my eyes on my environment, rather than some sort of screen. I honestly believe that my parents are still happy after twenty-five years of marriage because they only have dial-up internet, a land-line phone, and (ok, now, satellite TV--but they didn't until I was in middle school!).

And, more and more, as I am subjected to the constant stream of information and inspiration and the side-effects (anxiety, envy, insufficiency) of that over-stimulation, I just want to escape the world of technology so that I can experience and appreciate the world of reality. My dream life: take a trip around the world, then settle in a remote location by the ocean (or a lake, if I must) and just live. I know I won't be able to settle down until I see as much as it is possible for me to see in the world, so this is my plan:

1. Pay off debt.
2. Save money.
3. Save more money.
4. GO!

It may take a few years, but I am going to make it happen--mark my words! Can that possibly be too much to ask? I don't need to make millions of dollars, I don't need to have piles of stuff, I don't even need to buy fancy designer shoes! All I want is to see the world and live a naturally-stimulating life, surrounded by people I love. The experiences we have and the people we share them with are all that matter in this life--I don't see how two people (who supposedly love each other) can even have a relationship when they spend all of their time tapping away at individual ipads over breakfast or texting their friends during a dinner date (if you want to talk to someone other than who you're with--do it! Stop passive-aggressively nancying around on your cell phone!). I know I don't want that. But maybe that's just me.


  1. I completely agree with you! I direct a marketing & ad firm so I have to stay on the forefront of new technology, but I do not personally FB, MS, Twitter and I very rarely text. I refuse to own a Kindle or any other type of eReader because I like the way a book feels, the way it smells, and I will not give that up. Technology is wonderful in and of itself, but when it becomes a crutch for society to interact at one level removed, I feel that it becomes a monster. I do not want to be connected to the world 24/7. I do not want a "virtual presence at all times" as one of the larger social networking sites so succinctly put it.

    I read your blog daily but this is the first I've commented. I believe you and I are relatively close in age, at least the same generational cross section, and I think these anti-techonolgy feeling are especially hard for our generation. My peers think I'm absolutely nuts and my step kids think I live in the stone age. But you know what? After 8 yrs my husband and I spend time with each other, not with our respective laptops. The computers go off after dinner and that's that.

    Thanks for this post! I think it takes a lot of courage for a blogger to say hey, I don't like this stuff.

  2. Wow, girl you have courage. I recognize that for as many positive things technology has brought to my life, it has been detrimental to other parts of it, but I have no clue how I could cut it out. I know I spend more time in the virtual world than the real world right now, it is a sad thing to admit, but I just dunno how to make things happen in reality sometimes. My age group (I am five years younger than you) is so damn wired all of the time that it is almost impossible to make things happen without the aid of technology. You need to have a facebook to socialize these days otherwise I'd miss out on so many events. You need to text in order to get in touch with people, most of my friends rarely answer their phone or if they do its really awkward like they don't understand how to have a real phone conversation. I wish they were better at socializing in reality than over technology, but until then if I ever want to see anyone I have to use it to communicate. Obviously people used to meet before technology, and it was probably more genuine too, but sadly my generation will either end up with an 11th appendage (my ex roommate used to check her email off her iphone first thing when she got up, didn't even get out of bed, just pulled it into her palm, it was a little sickening) or completely go cold turkey, and I bet the former will happen unfortunately. People already speak in AIM speak in actual verbal conversation, where the hell did that ludicrous expression "win!" come from, it doesn't even make sense! It just saddens me, but I cannot fathom how to connect to my age group without it. However, I have dreams of going off the grid so to speak and on vacation I try to not use my computer, but I dunno if I could ever skip town completely.

  3. Good luck. I find seeing the difference between want and need a hard thing.


  4. Great post. It's hard not to fall victem to impersonal technology. It makes me so sad to see a kid who can't take a 5 min. car ride without their DS. Or teenagers sitting right next to each who would rather text than talk to one another. I too long for simpler things, real relationships and quality time. I feel like that is being stolen from the coming generation.