This is not a rant against technology. There is so much to be grateful for when we think about the advances made. When I drafted the poem, I was thinking more in terms of the way we use technology and the effect it has on our lives. There are pros and cons to everything but ‘button pressing’ addictions are in a class of their own. In fact, the process is revered as though it is our saviour.
In making our lives easier, it often feels we are losing something – pros and cons. Thus, I see technology as a double-edged sword and not because of the technology but because of the user. Most of us would agree, it is rare to sit at a meal in a home without a phone in the near vicinity. Go to any café or restaurant and it becomes the ‘invasion of the mobile’ instead of a brief reprieve to refresh our bodies. I see people all the time, phone to ear, talking as they cross the street and I think can anything be that important?
Let’s be honest, we see examples of phones either in the hand, or nearby in almost any profession, any home, any playground, any anywhere. Pros and cons. What could be so important that it can’t wait till we’ve parked the car? It seems to me it echoes a mindless addiction or am I too harsh? Yet on the plus side, we can reach someone at the press of a button and have a face to face conversation. Distance is no longer a painful obstacle keeping family and friends apart. In this Covid era, technology shines; it is the saviour.
I get the addiction when the drug of choice keeps us connected. What I don’t get is the preference of texting, of taking shortcuts with little images. Don’t misunderstand, it is an amazing tool we have invented but there is an art in true conversation. We learn to read the clues of the visual; we learn to understand emotional vocal undertones, listening and watching, in paying attention. We push ourselves to follow and understand nuances. Subconsciously, we take note of failings, whether ours or those of the speaker and we convert those thoughts into an improvement of skills. And not just the skills to listen, hear and understand but also those required to deliver. Pros seem less and the cons become more obvious.
Education screams technology is invaluable. However, there is also a cost when our learning and communication becomes mechanised, a mechanical behaviour, and dare I say at the risk of repeating the ‘a’ word, an addiction to the ease of action. I liken it to writers who rely heavily on the programmes these days to check our grammar. An air of ‘sameness’ winds its way through and that distinct voice loses a small part of itself unless we understand it is a ‘tool’.
Originality needs a brain, one that researches and brings knowledge together and retains it. Whatever we do next is thus strengthened including our confidence. Pros and cons – we can’t get away from them. Reading for understanding, the ability to takes notes, to organise our research with a physical action expands our thinking and contributes to our growth.
Agreed, we can do that online, but the turning of a page is a more effective signal to our brain to absorb details. In the physical and mental connection, something special occurs. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I see the mind and body connection missing too often in our children not to wonder if we have miscalculated.
However, I also have to admit there are days I am grateful for the push of a button and what it reveals. The suggestion then may be, it is the user that distorts the benefits, and I guess the real reason I wrote the poem. To remind myself not to distort those benefits. We want the saviour without the addiction.
So much to gain and so much to lose. Pros and cons. Pros and cons. Is there a happy balance and how do we ensure our children understand this? Perhaps I have been too harsh in my poem? I refer to the technology as an abyss, a controller that keeps us in the dark but yet in the end, I have to acknowledge the comfort of mechanical ease.
The Abyss is calling.
The sound is piercing
and the frequency
only a fraction less
painful than the
I know, I’ve been to the
deep, dark and dank,
dingy dungeon that stank.
The transmission continues
to hurt my ears,
and blur my eyes.
needed to filter
sounds and sights.
The blackness beckons
dangerous to the seeker,
but reality is bleaker.
I don’t know if I can resist the pull.
there is comfort in nothing.
From Emotions in Existence and The Emotions Anthology Box Set
Ciao till next time,
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