These are not new ideas, but I’m mulling anyway.
After years and years (and years) of anticipation and speculation, the future of my childhood has arrived. We have video phone calls and virtual reality surround-rooms; we have 3-D video games and robots who mow lawns and vacuum floors. We have instant transfer of most kinds of data to many, many places around the world. It’s incredible.
But the technology that was supposed to free our hands for more interesting work and more leisure has instead sped us up. If we can transfer a letter in ten seconds, then we need not drink tea while we wait for a reply. We need not go for a walk, pick up our mail at the post office, pet the dog, kiss our sweetheart, cook dinner, go to bed. We can just stare at the computer until the reply comes through.
So the arrival of the technology they warned us about is calling us, I think, to mindfulness, to stillness, to resist the rush. What if the standard reply time were still five days? What if we didn’t change things at the spur of the moment because there was no way to get in touch with people? And where is the balance between efficiency and sanity?