Technology or Cheese: You Decide

In a recent commencement address, President Obama noted that with technology, “information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”

On the same day I read that, I saw this post on Jennifer Louden’s blog Comfort Queen:

“For a few years now, I’ve been curious about the hounds of more, more, more! The hounds of more bay: Try this! Learn this! Write this! Take this retreat! Go here! More, more, more!” They’re the voices that yip at me, and my clients and readers, until we want to get a lobotomy: anything for some inner silence.”

Seth Godin, in an April post on his blog, asked, “The relevant discussion here: are the incoming messages helping?…Is it possible the noise is helping you hide from the stuff that scares you?”

I have been struggling with these thoughts for a while now. What is the role of technology in my life? How can I best make use of it, but still keep a balance with the more tangible and organic parts of life—relationships; moving and spending time outside; being creative; finding quiet, meditative moments?

My sister sometimes says, “I just want to go make cheese somewhere,” and I fantasize about this a lot. OK, I’m lactose intolerant, so maybe “I just want to go make pies,” but you know what I mean, right? A cozy cabin in Vermont or Maine, with ample time to read, write, make art, go for long walks, plant a garden. All of that and totally off the grid—no cable, computer, cell phone, ipad, iphone, wii…

But I know that’s not very practical. I’m an email junkie as much as the next person. And technology has been a partner in my creative efforts for more than 20 years!

So what is the solution? How do I respond to the incoming messages that I must be connected and “on” 24 hours a day, seven days a week? That each new technology is a must-have and equates to my “success”? That every social network demands my participation? And that if I am not part of all of this, I am somehow passé and irrelevant?

• • •

Technology presumes there’s just one right way to do things and there never is. – Robert M. Pirsig

• • •

Related Links:
6 Ways to End the Ick of Perfectionism, Overwhelm and Procrastination without Getting a Lobotomy, Comfort Queen
“Incoming”, Seth Godin

©2010, Jennifer Payne

4 Responses

  1. T J Buckley Googins

    wow – i, too, have always wanted to go somewhere and make cheese, but it usually only happens right after i read an article about people who live somewhere and make cheese…

    excellent post – thanks, jen!

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