Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Wonder Of Our Times

My internet connection was frustratingly sporadic again yesterday. The bad connection caused me to reflect once again on how totally dependent I have become on this means of communication. Far from atomizing the world I live in and making me feel like an individual dispersed and floating free in the ether, I feel more bound to the world in just about every way by this screen and this keyboard than I would ever have imagined possible even 15 years ago. What in the world did I do without it?

I'm not so much a partaker in that other communications revolution, cell phone technology. I use my cell phone for emergencies and when there is absolutely no other way to connect with someone. For Steve's part, he spends so much time on the phone at work that he rarely even answers it here at home. As for myself, though I can talk a blue streak if you hit the right buttons, writing is my preferred means of communication, so for better or worse I've taken to the internet as a natural extension of my brain and fingers. Email enables my immediate and previously unimagined connection to friends old and new. (Google, literally a creation of this technology, helps me find those old friends in the first place.) This blog has brought me an entire community of like-minded souls spread around the world who have opened doors to me that I didn't even know existed.

Music has been an enormous part of this revelation. I've been exposed to more new and exciting music in the past nine months than I had been in the previous 40 years, during which time I despaired that creativity had withered to oblivion. And this process of discovery has extended past new music to re-kindled acquaintance with artists who have been working their magic for years but who for one reason or another I previously paid no attention to. All this musical exploration has made my 80-gig ipod, yet another tool made possible by the internet, a godsend. It's about half full now with music practically endless in its variety. I can carry it with me wherever I go, set it on "shuffle," plug it into speakers, and share my musical wealth with anyone. We'll never hear the same song twice unless we want to.

Of course, all blessings have their potential for abuse. We've all heard of people who spend entire days in front of the computer, and I know a couple of people like that personally. They may be hooked on a game, or maybe they're doing the same sort of follow-where-it-leads exploration of knowledge that I enjoy, but they do it to the exclusion of what I've come to call the flesh-and-blood world. I find I can't sit in front of a television for more than two hours, and if my computer were not next to a window on the f&b world I would probably spend less time here, as well. As much as I enjoy everything about this morning ritual, choosing my music and forming my sentences takes just about all the time at the computer I'm willing to spend in one session.

Thanks to various beeps and chimes I know when one of you has sent me a message or has updated your blog. All I need to do is turn up the volume on my computer and head out to other things. But whatever those other things may be, they're done in the knowledge that my little outreach via cables and modems is keeping you near and able to tell me what's on your mind at a moment's notice. I'm tethered to my world and yours in a way previous generations of humankind never even thought of.

Who'd have ever dreamed....?


Peewit said...

It's funny but I really missed the nightly blog checking when I was on holiday and I even now find I occasionally have surreptious peeps whilst I'm at work. (this is more risky than it seems being a govt employee the thought police are very vigilant these days especially given the large data loss from our department last year (, and random sites get blocked by our webwasher software)

(and Yes I have just admitted I'm a taxman. You can stop talking to me now!)

Ralph said...

Well, Peewit, you don't take my taxes, so I'll continue to speak, and from what I can see from here the taxes you Brits pay afford a pretty decent life....

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool post Ralph.

Ralph said...

V? Is that you???

Eclecticity said...

Well said my brother! E.