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15 August 2010

The Techno-Life

Levi Bryant has a post up in which he candidly discusses his addiction to his iPhone, and Graham Harman has a post on the low-internet lifestyle.  I've resisted the encroachment of technology in my life as much as possible, and only accept a new technology if I can be thoroughly convinced that it will add to my life more than it takes away.  My first cell phone was given to me by my parents in case of emergencies, but it was useless since I never ever plugged the thing in (I still have a habit of leaving my phone unplugged until the battery runs down, which frustrates my girlfriend immensely).  I only got my own cell phone when I moved back to Kansas because it was easier and cheaper than getting a land line.  Early on, I saw the increasing use of blackberries and other smart phones as a medium of control more than of liberation - I don't want people to be able to contact me instantly all of the time - so I've never had one and will resist getting one for as long as I can.  I am not (nor will I ever be) on Facebook - I am on twitter, though it's use value has decayed for me since I first joined.  I can certainly sympathize with someone, like Graham's friend, who completely avoids the internet all together - maybe I'd have more time to play chess and learn piano if I did as well. 

That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with the internet, I think it's just another way of doing things.  Certainly there are people who take it too far - I know far too many people who are addicted to their iPhones, and then there are those whose entire social life is conducted online - but I think that blogs and YouTube and other things like that have greatly added to my life on the whole.  I've been learning to play ukulele the past few months, and have made significant progress, not despite my use of the internet, but largely because of it.  I wouldn't have had a clue of where to begin if it weren't for the many YouTube instructional videos that are up.  It has also added a great deal to my intellectual life.  I love the blog as a medium, and all of the blogs that I read have helped me generate new ideas and better understand other people's ideas.  Just take my recent discussion with Levi and others about Object-Oriented Ontology.  I probably would have never been able to engage with the philosophy if it hadn't been for Levi's persistent and down-to-earth explanations (though there are still many things I don't understand, and will have to turn to books for).  In that sense, Levi's iPhone addiction has benefited me a lot!  And Adrian's blog Immanence has propelled my thought light-years ahead of where I would have been otherwise - I am infinitely grateful for that.  I've met new people, built new ideas, and seen a lot of wonderful (and some awful) things thanks to the internet.

So, here I am on a beautiful Sunday morning (my last here in Ely), typing up a blog post (the second of the day) on the benefits and drawbacks of the Techno-Life.  My only wish is that I'd put as much energy into writing something that would actually get published - bring in some money maybe, and add to my CV - but that will come (maybe soon, I hope - I'll keep you posted). 

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