In Defense of Reverse-Technology
I’m telling you, we got this ALL wrong. We need a do-over! Remember that scene in the Superman movie, when Margo Kidder gets caught in the car and dies, and Superman goes into space and does his speedy flying thing in reverse of the earth’s normal orbit and time goes backward? Yes, that’s what we need.
When “they” say that technology has made our lives easier, I call bullshit. No,no, no, it has not. For one thing, before cell phones, if my daughter ran out of toilet paper, that was her problem. I wouldn’t be getting 36 text messages about it while trying to have coffee with a friend. Yes, remember face to face interactions? I still have those. I didn’t have to listen to that strangers loud one-sided phone conversation while trying to have lunch and read the paper in peace. Never did the thought cross my mind that someone might take my photo surreptitiously as I wandered into Starbucks in sweats with my bed-head and yesterday’s make up. And that’s just the beginning people.
And let’s talk about productivity shall we? I am old enough to remember when we had to WRITE things…letters, cards, school papers, checks even! Do I wish we still had to? Of course not! The time saved is a spectacular human achievement. But here is where we misstepped ladies and gentlemen. We should have stood back and said, wow, look at that. We just took a process that used to take 163.75 hours and shaved it down to 6.2443. I’ll be taking that 157.5057 hours (you can check my math but I used my smartphone so I think it’s right) and heading to Maui for 6.5627375 days (again, thanks iPhone!). Instead, when we got to that fork in the road, we took the road most traveled and filled in those 157.5057 hours with more work. Why?? Who was in charge of that decision? Think of what our lives would be like if we had taken the other route! Oh, the fun we’d be having! We’d be fat and tan and happy. We’d be masters at hula dancing and fire eating. We’d be well rested. Stress would be a thing of the past. We’d have LIVES. Heavy sigh. I love that alternate version of human history. I really do.
Enough about productivity then. Let’s talk humanity. Technology allows us, with all its magical abilities, to completely avoid any and all human contact. Yay! You can work remotely, order groceries and dinner delivered straight to your door. Out of toilet paper (sorry, I seem to be fixated on TP)? Google shopping express to the rescue! Need to pay bills? Took care of that years ago with on line banking! Oh, and if, at some point, you get lonely and need to reach out to someone? Skype, FaceTime, Facebook and Snapchat are here to ease your pain. Thank goodness we have all of this at our fingertips because, really, people suck don’t they?
I think we need a reverse-technology revolution. This is a call to arms my friends! We can start small. No one will notice at first. When the next advance comes to pass that makes it easier for you to get your job done, just work LESS. You’re remote, who will know? And with those extra hours you have at your luxury, venture outdoors. Meet a similarly adventurous and brave friend for coffee, or lunch even! A whole meal together! And spread the word. Eventually, we can piece together these little pockets of time we collect into bigger and bigger blocks of time. You can take the dog to the park. Or go to a museum. And someday, a girls/guys weekend!! I know, I know. It’s big thinking isn’t it? But I have faith! We can do this! We can correct our bad decision at that technological fork in the road all those years ago. Who’s with me??!??