It seems I am always wrestling with technology, in one way or another. Often I think I am too old for it all – my brain hasn’t been properly “formatted” to use it well. It seems like younger people take to electronic communication the way we took to cars, leaving our parents behind. It wasn’t that they didn’t have them, but their way of using them was based in an older way of living, and we took it all to a new level, working a massive change in the culture. Now it’s happening again. Still. And we are being left behind.
A lot has been written about the comparative benefits and evils of the technological explosion that we are experiencing. I think the most important realization is that our technological knowledge is expanding at a much faster pace than our moral/ethical wisdom can keep up with. In fact, “scientific” knowledge threatens to take over as the only real or valuable knowledge, leaving theology, morality, metaphysics, the arts, etc. consigned to the dustbin.
Kim and Karin have recently opened up this subject under the thread, “Avatar.” I think Karin’s last posting, suggesting a need for teaching the younger generation how to control the technology of their world, is a good place to start a new conversation, so I am re-posting it below:
I love what Kim said about “time”. I get nostalgic sometimes for the feeling of the nineteen-fifties. (Yes, I’m REALLY old) Things were much slower then—particularly childhood. I look forward to Susan’s story about fifth grade to see if it incorporates any of the thinking of that time. It took TIME to dial a rotary phone. Now that I have a six-year-old granddaughter, I fear for her in reference to the evils of the Internet. In a way, this technology will make her more vulnerable because children can be inappropriately open in their on-line communications, and their lives can be ruined in many ways. And to Kim’s point about “boundaried” communication (love that word!), I do think texting and twittering are very shallow, and work against the development of beautiful language and endearing relationships, as she said. In many cases, the twitterer now is more interested in getting a huge following rather than in saying anything particularly profound. On the other hand, perhaps there is a place for texting because it sends (sometimes) important information fast. (Witness the recent bad guys at NVC, and the ability of the administration to let the whole campus know quickly that they were there.) You know, this opens a door to another “catch-up and clean-up” result of technological development. doesn’t it? Now that we do have all these forms of communication, perhaps someday, (in the public school?) the appropriateness of each one in each setting must be comprehended, or one is set up for failure. Also, the appropriateness of opening up to others we barely know and its consequences must be understood. For instance, “U R right 4 me” may go over okay in a modern-day valentine), but not when sending off a resume to a potential employer. Of course, the “sweetie” receiving this valentine, may not think there is much depth of feeling there, either, (or an anonymous he/she may read TOO much into it) as Kim said. Anyone want to sign up for my class in “Modern Communication—How, When, and Where to Use It”? Ha Ha.