I’m typing this post on an iPad. This is the first time I’ve done a blog post from an iPad and honestly I’m a little skeptical. It has little to do with the product itself, the iPad is a pretty neat device. My ambivalence is more for philosophical reasons. Maybe it’s because I don’t embrace change very well. New is not necessarily better. I’m a traditionalist at heart. Maybe it’s because I don’t like it when people tell me I need the latest and greatest techno product. Maybe it’s simply that I like to be a rebel and buck the trends.
I think a big part of it is that deep down I just don’t value technology in general. Of course I do value it to some extent. But to the degree that the culture at large values it I fall far short. So much of what is created these days is great and wonderful when it first comes out. It’s novel because it’s current. But I just don’t admire things that are fleeting. I admire things that stand the test of time. If it won’t be around 2, 5, 10 years from now I just don’t value it.
Technology is inherently selfish too. I’ve found that the more technical something is the harder it is to share. Look at ebooks. So you can download digital books. Great! But can I give the book to a friend. Well, maybe. But it’s hard. There are rules, restrictions and policies about that. Really?! If I buy something I don’t want to be told who and how I can give it to someone. This is the same reason I don’t buy music from iTunes. Technology makes it increasingly harder to be generous. Also with ebooks there’s a big restriction on who I can lend the book to- they have to have an ebook reader. Sorry, but that’s not good enough for me. I’m hesitant to buy things that put restrictions on how it can be shared. Life is too short to hog things for myself. I want to be a giver.
I think ultimately, though, my biggest beef with iPads and the like is that at the end of the day it’s just another distraction. I’m helping babysit four kids this week and I’m seeing that kids as well as adults share a common weakness- we all have have inherent weakness for screens. We get sucked in so easily. I’m really hesitant to get an iPad because I know it’ll be another distraction for me- something that commands my attention and makes me more selfish. If I think ahead about it I’m not sure I want that. Generally speaking the fewer screens I have in my life the less problematic this is. So if I can help it, if I have a choice, I’d like to reduce these distractions as much as possible.
I’ve put a lot of thought into it and this is how I view technology in general. I have my reservations and it’s not just to be a rebel. It troubles me to think that people don’t think things through before they add another gadget or technology to their life. We’re not just adding a new _________ (fill in the blank) to our life. We’re giving something up. Technology always fills the space of something that previously existed in our life. How often do we see it?