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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

. . .And Architecture is a Slingshot

Technology has been described as a double-edged sword.  

(Digression: This is true.  After all, double-edged swords AE technology.  Agriculture, interestingly, is a single-edged sword.  Animal husbandry is a trebuchet.  Marine biology is a blowgun. . . . End of Digression.)

Technology provides immense benefits, but it also has immense drawbacks.  In addition to the ever-present and obvious possibility of nuclear self-annihilation, one of the most pernicious effects of technology is the effect it has on its users--the effect of learned helplessness.   To wit, Emi Ha (Questions, Comments, Complaints) is having Tom-Tom issues.  (One assumes she is referring to the navigational device and not the primitive drum.)

For those of you not following her blog: Shame on you!  Start immediately.  In the meantime, though, the Solipsist will summarize: Emi Ha is a directionally challenged Canadian transplant, who is somewhat lost now that her trusty Tom Tom has decided to go on the fritz.  It is doubtful whether she will be able to leave the house, and, since she has two small children who probably count on her for food, this could be a serious problem once the refrigerator is empty.  We will keep our loyal readers posted on her progress.

The reason the Solipsist is spending so much time summarizing another blog is that he has absolutely no idea what to write about.

Well, that's not true.

He HAD nothing to write about until Emi Ha's post got him thinking about technology dependency.  Tom Tom, of course, for the directionally challenged (although so far the Solipsist is perfectly happy with Yahoo! Maps--not that that's any less technologically dependent).  What about cell phones?  Sure, they're convenient, and one could now hardly imagine being without one, but that's not the scary part.  The scary part is this:

Quick: What's your home phone number?

OK, you knew that one (probably).

What's your Mom's number?

The Solipsist knows the answer to this because HIS mother hasn't moved since the Solipsist was five years old.  Indeed, he still knows by heart his best friend's childhood phone number: (718) 830-0434.  But if YOUR parents are divorced, and your father has moved since you were a child (or at least since you first started using cell phones), then the Solipsist is willing to make a small wager that YOUR father has the same phone number as HIS father: "Dad."  Such are the mixed blessings of cellphone address books.  YNSHC has this recurring fear of being arrested.  The police offer him his one phone call but DON'T allow him to use his cellphone.  What if he can't remember the number?

And what about computer dependence.  Since the beginning of this year, a legion of poor benighted souls have been. . . un-nighted?. . . thanks to the Solipsist's guidance.  But what if he can't get to a computer?  What if YOU can't?  For that matter, the person behind the Solipsist (and for that matter WOS, as well) has probably written more in the last three months than he had in the previous ten years.  Why?  Because blogging makes it easy.  The thought of writing outside of the comforting borders of a Google template has become daunting.

The Solipsist recommends that every day you take the opportunity to do something without the aid of modern technology for which you COULD use modern technology.  Dial a number without using your cellphone's speed dial.  Look up a word in an actual (as opposed to virtual) dictionary.  Type on a typewriter (assuming you can still find one).

And, what the heck, now that you've finished reading today's Solipsist, turn off the computer for a little while!

See you tomorrow.

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