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two and a half seconds, Oceanside Pier

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Stop the beeping

A friend of mine told me a story the other day. he was in a thrift shop and he asked to see an inkwell.

The young man behind the counter handed him a sculpture. "No," he said, "I want to see the inkwell," pointing at the antique object. He inspected the vessel, then handed it back to the man and departed.

The next day he re-entered the thrift shop. This time a girl was behind the counter. "I would like to see the inkwell," he once again proclaimed. The girl handed him the sculpture once again.

"I said the inkwell." The girl looked at him strangely and finally said, "What's an inkwell?" "Well, it is a vessel that holds ink that you put a brush, quill or nib into when you are drawing. I don't mean to pry but how do you not know what an inkwell is?

And the girl answered that if she needed to know about anything she could always google it.

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I am not going to get into another extended rant on cultural illiteracy or the reverse Flynn effect. My blood pressure is already high enough. But it does seem that many of us over rely on these stupid phones and computers for the most basic of tasks, like addition or subtraction for instance, and it is not too hard to conceive of some harm they may be doing to our basic beings.

I am sure that all of us have friends, family or acquaintances that would rather hang out in cyberland 24/7 than take a walk or talk to their real life peeps. Living for likes on Facebook. Pretty awful metric but what do I know? Or staying up all night playing Fortnite or some warcraft game. I am off all social media at the moment except this blog and it feels pretty good. Especially with all the new info breaking about how Facebook really feels about the sanctity and privacy of your data, communications and email contacts.

Anyhow, not to draw this out but I did something very simple today to strike a blow for sanity on my cheap Motorola cell phone.

I'll take my chances
I went into every application and I turned off the notifications. Because I don't want to hear a beep every time CNN wants to tell me about a new chapter in the Mueller Report, or Huffpo wants to dish on Kaitlyn Jenner or CVS wants to tell me that my prescription is ready.

I don't want to be forced to rate every internet communication with my bank, or tell somebody what I really thought about the check in at the hotel. My time is valuable and I would like to reclaim it. So is my mental health. The emails can wait and so can the text messages. I will engage at a level I am comfortable with, and it is about me, my time schedule, not Yelp, not Instagram, not anybody else. If I need to engage I can surely find you, but stop with the incessant notifications already. It's driving us all batshit crazy.

2 comments:

JH said...

Got it!

Jon Harwood said...

"The Prophet" Steve Jobs envisioned the iPhone as something you used to make phone calls, find your way with a map or send a text--then you put is away. When these devices become substitutes for the old frontal lobes we are in a lot of trouble. Notifications are the worst thing turn them off at peril of losing you soul!! I don't understand all of it for sure but the expansion of social media is turning us into a country of narcissistic pukes who can't run a society.
I am reminded of the conservatives who tried to teach their followers to evaluate the free press critically-that sure backfired. Now we have idiots thinking everything in the media is fake-the total opposit of critical thinking.
The personal computer used to be something that was freeing, allowing individuals access to powerful tools like spreadsheets and word processors. Now the things tell us how to think and social media substitutes for the real world.
I sound like an angry old Roman complaining about the orgy at the palace. Oh well, someone else will have to provide perspective.