On technology

So I recently got my hands on a beautiful iPhone 3GS which was generously given to me by a friend who had no use for it (brilliant, right? I thought so too!). Needless to say that even though it’s only been in my possession for a few days I’ve already spent hours with it, downloading apps (always free), discovering new things, playing games, etc. And although I do sometimes think that I could have spent these hours doing a number of other things (such as reading a book or studying) I don’t regret it, and most importantly, I don’t consider these hours to have been for nothing (well, maybe except for the game-playing). It has certainly not taken any time off from socializing, which for me is important.


So let’s take a vote! Technology: good or bad? If only it were that simple. For the sake of clarity on my part I will go ahead and answer with a definitive daahhh, good of course. Having said that, I do believe that it has unavoidably and irrevocably changed our lives, and I think that my generation has been affected the most because we have lived through the evolution of it step by step. I remember my dad giving my sister and I a PC as a Christmas present 17 years ago. It had a 386 processor which was so cool and fast at the time, with Windows 3.1 on it! It had Paint (which I spent hours on) and a series of fun games such as Prince of Persia and Prehistoric (which fit into a diskette!!). But I also remember “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” which taught me all the geography I know, “Chessmaster” which made me appreciate the game even more, “Loom” which was so amazingly difficult and awesome (it took my sister and I 8 months to finish), and finally a program that taught me how to type properly and fast (for which I am very grateful).


At the time, even though computers were slowly creeping into our lives without them being a necessity, cell phones were still unheard of (at least for the common folk). I actually bought my first cell phone at the age of 16-17 while in Canada, which was a relatively large Nokia 5110 (if I recall correctly) with a big-ass battery that lasted an entire week. No color, no camera, no apps, just calls, texts and the all-time classic snake game! Oh, and may I just say…that phone was impervious to any kind of damage (water, rough one-on-ones with the pavement, etc). So where are we today? What is the first thing you do when you wake up? I open my laptop and prepare coffee (and yes, in that order).


So allow me to ask once more, is that good or bad? I’m sticking to my guns and saying good. Technology evolves, we adapt and embrace it. And why shouldn’t we? It’s so damn cool and fun. We now have access to  a tremendous amount of information by simply (and literally) tapping our fingers a few times. Not only is it not bad, but it’s beautiful. Horrifying at times, even haunting, but beautiful. Sure it has disadvantages, but name one thing that doesn’t when taken to the extreme. As our good fellas, the ancient Greeks, used to say “παν μέτρον άριστον” (everything in moderation). For me the worst disadvantage is the fact that there’s too much information (books, music, knowledge, entertainment) and not enough hours in our lifetime to go through it all.


And I’ll close by considering the fact that while I was writing this post and chatting with my good friend who lives in Germany, I could have been reading my Dostoevsky book which has been oh so patiently waiting for me upstairs. But it’s OK, I’ll get to it in a minute. 

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