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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

For the love of technology

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: Opinions

Are you a slave to your cell phone? Do you think the latest iPod will save the world? Are you starting to belong to your belongings? (And no, this is not some advertisement.) Well, dont feel alone, because this seems to be the case for many Americans these days. Maybe we should consider creating rehab or techies anonymous for all those people out there who just cant seem to put down the Blackberry for more than say, one minute. Theres just something fascinating about a world where the more plugged in we are, the more isolated we feel. Email, text messages, Facebook;

how many ways can we reach people these days without really talking to them? It seems like the methods we use to communicate abound, but real conversation is sadly lacking.

Im not going to attack technology and say that its all bad, because its not. Technology means were doing something right and advancing ourselves. Technology means we can cure diseases and cross oceans. In short, technology just rocks. But were so used to the technology around us and so enamored by its greatness that we dont even see how mesmerized we are.

Take text messaging for example. Let me just start off by saying, what a great invention! There are so many pros to textingits quick, its easy, its convenient. Say you have a quick question you want to ask a friend, but dont have the time for a full conversation texting is there. Then there are the times when you cant really talk (class, work, etc.), but you can silently sneak a message when nobodys watching. These are all great aspects of the concept of texting, but as with any technology, texting has its cons. Now, these may not seem too serious to some people who are absolutely addicted to texting, but there are problems: driving, for example. How on earth can we drive and text at the same time? I personally have bad enough hand-eye coordination without typing furiously on my phone while maneuvering my way through the war zones that have become our streets.

And for those who say they dont want to bother their friends with a real phone call, if you think a phone call will bother them, what do you think a text is going domake them jump for joy? If you cant bother your friends with a call, then maybe you should rethink whether they are actually your friend. Im not judging, though, because I am guilty of this myself. Texting is convenient and fun, but theres no substitution for actually hearing that persons voice, so once in awhile we should stop typing, and start talking.

Ah, the iPodwhat a wonderful invention! I love my iPod (hot pink, of course!). Its so convenientit has all the music I could ever desire stored in one tiny machine. I love my iPod so much that I would never say that we shouldnt have invented it;

that would be stupid. What Im suggesting is that maybe we should slow down and ask ourselves, do we really need a new model every few months? The irony in the improvements to thelatest iPod abound. Seriously, why do we need to watch TV on a tiny little screen and pay $2 for each episode when we could watch it for free and on a big screen TV? Our TV screens seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but our iPods only seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Our iPods are great escapes from the real world. Trust me, theres nothing better than sticking in those earphones and escaping the stress of the long day with your favorite song. But maybe we should consider whether the iPod really needs to do everything short of saving the world. Bigger, or in the case of the iPod, smaller isnt always better.

Why do we need new and bigger, or as lately is the case, smaller machinery to make us happy? Is there a deeper void were really trying to fill?

Were constantly connected to inanimate inventions like the internet, but never really connecting to people. We check our e-mails all the time, yet cant find the time to make that phone call to that friend weve been meaning to check up on.

We have become so technologically plugged in that we dont even realize it. We have machines to do everything for us, except recognize the sad predicament were in. I dont know about you, but I dont want to be doomed to an eternity of bowing down to the pagan god of technology.

Recently while listening to John Mayer in the car, I was struck by the lyrics of his song “Somethings Missing in which he questions why everything I think I need always comes with batteries. Why is this? Why do we need the latest technology to satisfy us or to keep us in tuned with everyone else? And please dont tell me its to keep up with everyone else, because the old excuse because everyone else is doing it is also one of the most stupid.

Forget about second-hand smoke, our generation should be concerned with Blackberry finger. Reach out and talk to someone, people. Stop reading this and go get some human contact! For the love of technology!