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Why We're Not Entering the Mystery of Anything

May 27, 2013, 8:00 AM

I saw this in an airport: a woman had her laptop on her lap. She had an iPad in one hand, an iPhone in the other hand and iPod connected to her ears.  But here’s the good part. Everything was off and she was reading a paper book.  That gave me hope that people are going to stop all of this.  

I saw a man walk across the street yesterday and he almost got run over.  He was no longer on his gadget, but he had just turned it off while walking and he didn’t know he was in the middle of traffic.  I think it’s a metaphor for what this technology is actually doing to us.  I don’t think it’s a good thing by any stretch.  

I’m saying this as a man who has brought all of these gadgets into my house.  I feel like I brought crack cocaine into my own home. 

What I love about writing is summed up in a great quote in Tim O’Brien’s essay, "The Magic Show."  He writes, “Writers tend to be the kind of people who want to enter the mystery of things.”  I think that’s true of readers too.  I think we read these novels and these poems and these plays and these short stories because we want to enter the mystery of things.  One thing I know about the digital world, we’re not entering the mystery of anything.  We’re bopping around like little birds on a wire looking at anything that pops up.  And it’s not good.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Why We're Not Entering the ...

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