Here, there, and everywhere else [2]

Read a beautiful article recently about quality of time and technology. Particularly the following sentence has kept coming back to me since, because it is precisely what I look like these days on the commuter train.

At times I feel as though I’m in a bad science fiction movie where everyone takes orders from tiny boxes that link them to alien overlords.

I like reading essays on “slow living“, perhaps partly because I naturally have a slow rhythm. I also find the idea of “digital detox” to be quite appealing and something I should try soon myself.

That said, there is invariably and unmistakably a hint of romanticisation of the past in such essays, isn’t there? In the aforecited article, for example, the author says:

It used to be the case that when you were at a movie, you were 100 per cent there, in the velvety darkness watching lives unfold in flickering light (unless you were making out). But televisions, DVD players, the rest: you were never totally committed to what they showed; you were always cheating on them, chatting and wandering away, fast-forwarding and rewinding, even when commercials didn’t shatter their continuity.

I can’t help but wonder whether existing in (metaphoric) fragments is necessarily a dreadful thing. I am sitting in my living room writing this, but at the same time, thanks to a smartphone instant messenger, exchanging pleasantries with my sister at the other side of the world to keep her company while she is working alone late. Now Mum just woke up, at my sister’s end of the world but in another city, sending me a photo of my niece as of yesterday to share her pride and joy watching her granddaughter growing up.

So, these days, especially after having installed a popular app for global messaging a month ago, I admit I am not 100% in one place. A fraction of me is, for instance, checking in to see how my loved ones far away are doing – my way of making up for the time that I could have had with them if I were near.

I know my situation is particular, but still, I wanted to note how easily we can slide into a normative terrain when it comes to discussing how to consume technology.

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