The Down Side of Technology

This subject has been on my mind for such a long time. Believe me I am very appreciative that we have so many wonderful things that technology has brought to us. I always carry my cell phone for safety, convenience, cleanliness (I know that one is kind of weird), and just to touch base with those in “my world” more often.)

I LOVE my computer. My twin brother brought me his first old computer when he got a newer model, and I had sworn that I would never be tied to one of those things! Ahhhhh, he told me “You need one Marsha. You will learn it is a very valuable tool and you will wind up loving it.” Amen.

It is true. The information highway is stunning. I appreciate the news at my fingertips, the fun games to play, the exchanges from person to person, the all the wonderful things a computer offers. My favorite, as a writer, is of course it is about a million times easier to type, correct, spell check, move items and overall is just the best when you write, write, write! In all honesty, in some ways, communication between the peoples of the world is enhanced many times over.

These are only two items in a world flowing over with gadgets, televisions, remotes, games, ipods, stereos, etc. etc. etc. (That is a tiny list, and right now I am not going to test my memory, nor bore you with every item we have available..you know what I mean). Besides, that would be very time consuming, and doesn’t really have much to do with my subject – the down side of technology.

Did you ever read 1984 by George Orwell? “Big brother is watching ” you is a catch phrase that most baby boomers and many reading advocates recognize immediately.

For those of you that may not have read it, the fictional novel takes the reader to a society governed by an oppressive group known as the Party. The ruler is Big Brother. The main character spends most of his time trying to overthrow the Party and Big Brother.

They had “Thought Police”, a department that monitored the thoughts of the people. The main character, I want to say Winston, but don’t really remember for sure, is finally captured. He found that people he thought were his friends actually stabbed him in the back. He was brainwashed and became one of the mindless followers of the Party and Big Brother.

Personally I think the author was an anarchist. The book inspired for me (at the time) an actual caution regarding our own government and it’s leaders. I still feel that way.

I remember that each citizen went from a very small and plain home , equipped with a huge television monitor, to a cubicle where they sat all day in front of a large monitor from which they worked. Restaurants, pubs, every place citizens frequented had a large monitor where Big Brother would have announcements projected to the citizens, and reminders that “Big Brother” was watching them. If I remember correctly, the monitors actually were also a way for the Party to watch the citizens.

Written so long ago it seems to fit in many ways as to where we stand today. Of course we do have more freedom – or do we? I tire of the many advertisements and commercials, whether you are on the web, watching television, at a movie, reading a magazine, or listening to the radio. Put in our faces on billboards and signs everywhere, these visuals and ringing in our ears brainwash us. We must have it all! As soon as we buy a new item on the market (practically) it becomes old stuff and something new is presented within a few months.

The sad scenario I see is that technology has very nearly brought “family life” to a standsill in many situations. A television in the living room and kids rooms is standard. Of course if it’s not a television now, it’s a computer. Sitting at the dinner table bustling with conversation is rare, more likely someone’s cell will ring or someone will be wearing earphones, and another member of the family will be watching television.

Communication between people who are close enough to actually face each other has been stalled. Oftentimes when I walked with my girlfriend, her phone would ring and our conversation would end.

No one hand writes correspondence. I rarely do myself. I miss receiving a lengthy letter. Though here too I must admit, I check my email severals times a day, if not more. Not everyone is a proficient driver, but everyone can drive with one hand and the other holding a cell phone. I know if someone is talking on the phone in front of me at a stop light. When the light turns green they are still talking with one hand and get a slow start.

People aren’t as healthy because we all sit with our shoulders curled forward and for long periods of time. Our circulation is poor and our necks stiff. Older people who are not computer savvy are out of the “current loop”.

Pornography is rampid and infidelity has increased because of the secret availability of sexual meetings with strangers on the web. Teenagers can make plans without the knowedge of parents, nor permission. Secrets have increased.

Cashiers can’t make change unless the register tells them how much to return to us. There is fighting and a scurry to the store when a new game is presented. And on, and on, and on. See what I mean?

Yet here I am taking great advantage of this wonderful technology! It is a catch 22. I just hope all of us, from time to time, will have the intellect to stand up and stretch, breathe, take a break and also choose other forms of activities – hiking, kayakking, tennis, dancing, whatever! Keep conversation in the picture. Use your brain cells to be still independent as a thinker and doer. What if something happened that all of our technology didn’t work? Wouldn’t it be great if we could still function using simply the intellect our our own minds?  Ponder it.

4 Responses to “The Down Side of Technology”

  1. Angie Welch Says:

    Your blog is on the very high level and includes a lot of very interesting information and was very useful for me.

  2. Marsha J. O'Brien Says:

    Why thank you so much! I am so glad and appreciate you taking the time to comment!
    Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

  3. Marietjie Nel Says:

    I really enjoy your style of writing – and also believe you have written something very thought-provoking, thanks!

  4. marsha o'brien Says:

    Wow! You made my day! Thanks so much. I haven’t written any posts for a while but HOPE to start again VERY soon…you know how life interferes with your plans! 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

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