January 18, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Spend Less Time on the Computer

If aliens landed on Earth they would assume that humans worship glowing screens.

Facebook as Religion

Over the holidays I saw a man walking through a mall in Boston, lovingly cradling his iPad, looking at the screen with reverence and love, oblivious to reality taking place around him.

I find this approach living troubling and distressing.  It's akin to reality TV - sitting and watching other people live their lives rather than having a life yourself.

Immaculate Connection

I know it is ironic to announce this on the web, but I have decided to spend less time in cyberspace.

I am looking forward to writing fewer blog posts and more letters, spending fewer lunch breaks in front of a screen and more outside, and embracing the here and now of physical reality rather than an untouchable cyber one.


Greg said...

Good resolution, John. Everything in moderation. Love the church sign. Where is that?

John Nordell said...

Thanks, Greg. Yes, Moderation, Balance - elusive yet important. The church is in Greenfield, MA Cheers.

Sabrina B. said...

I'm online a lot, but enjoy (and prefer) writing paper letters. I still prefer a paper book to the electronic version. I wander in the woods, attend concerts, play with my cats, cook, have good conversations with friends...

When I'm online, I'm still thinking critically -- agreeing or disagreeing, checking several sources, evaluating the validity of the information I find, debating issues with friends, etc.

I don't see being online as a replacement for any of these activities; it's an addition. And now that I'm 3000 miles away from my family, spending more time online is a way for me to remain in real-time (or almost real-time) contact with them -- is that bad because it involves a screen?

John Nordell said...

Sabrina -

Sounds like you have a good balance.

Screens are not necessarily bad. I just have concerns about how communication via the internet in some cases is supplanting actual human contact and what this means for our brains and society. I found the man walking through the mall devoted to his iPad, oblivious to the actual life around him creepy - though maybe he was following some sort of GPS for people walking. But such a GPS concept, to me, is ridiculous - ask somebody!

But I do question myself: does it make a difference if someone sits on a bus reading a book or a Kindle?

Thanks for your insights. -John