1 November

Coping with progress

by Jon Katz

 November 1, 2009 – Sunny, cool. Fierce wind yesterday, more rain. Lenore is fascinated with herself. And with the wet leaves rotting in the water.

 Note: The ASA 2010 Calendar, with photos by Corinna Aldrich and me can now be seen and purchased online at the association’s website. The calenders are beautiful and inexpensive gifts, or just useful to have.

   Friday was a significant day at the farm. Friday evening, we disconnected from cell phones, the Internet and other work technologies and read, talked and walked. It was a powerful experience, and I am chagrined to say I haven’t done that in a year or so. We were both startled at the idea of it, and of how important it is. There is a sort of tsanimi feel to new technolgies. We all find some of them useful – this blog, for one – and feel we need to keep up to be relevant. That’s true. But the thing with technology is that there is a choice – you manage it, or it manages you. Social media has brought a whole new tidal wave of messaging to our lives, and I appreciate Facebook as a valuable writing and marketing tool for my work. Twitter, too.
  But we are drowning in messaging and communications, and just keeping up is another form of work and stress. And most of the messages are not exactly urgent. The boundaries between work and the rest of our lives are blurring. Companies, always desperate to save some money, are happy to push us online, and deal with us only through e-mail if they can.
  Personal connections are spreading online, but disappearing from the real world. If you let them. I read two books Friday and Saturday, cooked two meals, talked for hours with Maria, sat on the porch and watched the wind and got to know myself a bit better. It strengthens a relationship as well, to just talk and not be interrupted or distracted. I left my Blackberry plugged in.
  We are seeking to incorporate this time into our daily lives with more discipline. We were calmer, more peaceful. It was nice.
  We are in a true Information Revolution, and many are drowning in it. Separating the good stuff from the other stuff takes thought and work. It sometimes feel as if we are dogs chasing rabbits down a track.

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