I’m occasionally challenged by a younger generation that my diminished views on continuous connectivity are outdated, that social media and constant electronic communication are just a part of the new culture that technology is creating. I’m supposed to get used to it, old man. And maybe so, I’m not willing to away that quickly
When I consider the dilemma that ubiquitous technology is creating in my personal and professional life these days, I am reminded that there really is nothing new under the sun. There are no new human struggles, only new contexts. My forefathers didn’t carry a smartphone, but they did carry the same burdens that the smartphone accentuates. Regardless of age, era or civilization, I’m always going to be prone to the same worry and anxiety they experienced.
I’m not proposing an Amish lifestyle, because we’ve seen from their TV show that they’ve got problems like everyone else. I like my phone. I like my computer. I like digital music, sort of. I’m just trying to figure out how to not let it own and rule me.
The recent NSA data mining story in the news this week raises a good question about privacy and access. Again, the desire for privacy is not new, but what does that mean in an Internet age?
I’m sure people out there know more about me than I can ever imagine. My grocery store can probably predict the next time I’m going to buy toilet paper because I’ve given them access to my buying patterns via a rewards card. I’m OK with that kind of access. It helps me save a few bucks and doesn’t create added stress to my life.
The access against which I am striving is that which robs me of a peaceful soul. There are certain places and times of day I need to be left alone and unbothered, without that constant nagging of a blinking light that demands my attention.
Modern technology puts us in touch with more and more power every day. But power of any kind, if left unbridled, will run rampant and out of control. Combustion that is harnessed is a fire keeps us warm and moving forward; else it will burn us to the ground.