Thursday, August 19, 2010

Getting away from computers

I have written before on the ill effects that excessive electronic use can have on your mind. Here is a recent NYT article about a group of scientists who study these issues, and their restorative rafting trip in the wilderness, far away from email and electronics.

Anyway, it reminded me of that Vonnegut short story, "Harrison Bergeron". It's about a future world of rigid equality. Beautiful people wear masks to make them ugly, and agile ballet dancers are fitted with weights so they dance no better than their peers. Most strikingly, intelligent people wear earpieces that emit a shrill screeching sound at irregular intervals in order to interrupt their thoughts. How ironic that Vonnegut's dystopian vision has somewhat come true, although in typical US fashion, it is people themselves who have elected their burden through free choice. The most intelligent among us tether ourselves to distracting, blinking, beeping machines that make us stupid and dispersed!

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