When I was in kindergarten there was a friendly and beautiful girl named Jennifer in my class. We became friends, and I was even bold enough to ask for her phone number. I used to call her frequently and we would talk about different things. As time passed, she and I were separated since she lived relatively far away. Years later, she came back into my life in high school. She had changed. She wasn’t as beautiful as she used to be, but she still had a great personality. I was friends with her again. One day when we were talking she said this:
“Do you remember how we meet in Kindergarten?”, she said.
“Of course, you were the most friendly and beautiful person there.”, I replied.
“Well I’m not so attractive as I was then.”, she stated.
“I disagree. You are beautiful inside and out Jennifer and I am still glad that I am your friend.”, I replied.
She smiled the biggest smile I had ever seen her have.
Why am I telling you this? Life turned out that a few years after high school she had a child, and then a few years after that she was involved in an auto accident and died. What makes a person beautiful is the values and life they lead. The surface is as unimportant as the wrapping on a gift. It might be pretty for a moment, but the real treasure is what is inside.
When I was growing up certain comedians seemed very funny. Now I am watching those shows again and I am not laughing. I know that I have changed but then I wonder why I ever liked them at all?
I wonder if our desire for variety and new things is driven more by personality or by groupthink? For example, many people used to like MC Hammer and I was one of them. Looking back at it now I can’t listen to it. What seemed so new and interesting suddenly you can’t really understand why you did it. I wonder about that sometimes when the temptation to go along with the majority is present.
Right now the temptation is to get an iPad just like it was one to get an iPhone. I waited for years before I got an iPhone and only because I had to support them in my job. Now that I don’t have it, I don’t really miss it. Oh sure it is cool to surf the web when you are away from the computer but it’s not essential. I use that time to think or be present in the moment. I have to wonder if the benefits of things like the iPad have more disadvantages.
Certainly it isn’t the tool that is at fault. You can go overboard on a laptop, desktop or any kind of technology. It isn’t the iPad per se that is the problem. It just makes the use of technology even more tempting. I kind of view temptation as something like groupthink. You aren’t always aware of its influence until you live without it. I’m not saying these things are bad, but sometimes they are unhelpful.
The iPad/iPhone are probably the strongest examples of technology looking for a problem. Certainly there are business cases where those things save money or time. I have to wonder however if it is the right tool for the millions of people who have them. Isn’t it interesting that people hate the 50′s because of the perceived cookie-cutter approach to living? That one way or pattern is the best for society and it is your job to conform to society? Now we seem to accept that the iPhone/iPad is the way things should be, and that it is our job to conform to devices and structures that other people set.
So what if everyone has the iPad or everyone uses the iPhone? Isn’t that a small thing to be concerned about? After all there are bigger problems in the world. Yes that is true. It is true that computer viruses and hacking are successful because of the commonality of design and logic. It is my concern that our future security, creativity, and freedom are limited by over adopting any technology no matter how wonderful. To me, using one platform is as concerning as only having one language in the world. Maybe that would make things more efficient, but you also lose the diversity of thought and world-view that those languages represent.
Or maybe the world wants the US culture to dominate and no matter where we go in the world, we only see the reflections of ourselves. Sounds fun doesn’t it?