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The Curse of Being Blessed August 9, 2007

Posted by malthusio in Uncategorized.
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For a technophile, it’s probably more than a little odd that I tend to willfully ignore so much new technology. I like the idea of technology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like adopting it.  It’s usually expensive, time consuming, and generally just not worth while.

 I was downright hostile to getting a cell phone, but when I was living in Toronto, I finally broke down and got one. Now that I have one… I’m even more hostile towards the idea. I’ve even become ambivalent towards the Internet (which I used to love) as well.  At the time though, I felt coerced to get one for my job (and because people I worked with kept on bugging me to get one). I managed to hold out a bit longer on getting the Internet, but eventually I caved here too. And no, I wasn’t going for some kind of asceticism by “denying” myself these things. I was simply trying to protect the last of my eroding freedom and autonomy.

The problem with technologies like cell phones and the Internet is that they are double edged swords. In fact, the sharper edge is usually pointed towards you and not away from you… Even though these technologies can extend your freedom and capabilities in some ways, they aren’t always worth the freedom and autonomy you lose in the bargain. For example, the “opportunity” to work from home (typically before you leave for work, as soon as you get home from work, and on weekends too). Having a cell phone also gives you the “opportunity” to become aware of when something from work needs taking care of, so you don’t have to wait until the next day.

When you look at them in this light, it becomes less clear why these things are desirable… They all have strings attached; the problem is when the strings are attached to you. You become a puppet, whether you know it or not. So as someone who has been pulled around by these strings, I like to keep them where I can see them at all times. Other than just sheer contrariness, I suppose this is probably part of the reason why I haven’t joined facebook. Other than that, I simply can’t stand the inherent contradiction of putting your personal information in a public place, and then getting upset about people invading your privacy… What are these people on? Do you know what someone can do with something as simple as a name or an email address (any part of an email header is relatively easy to forge…)?

As with all blessings, they can just as easily be a curse. It’s all in your point of view.

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