Tuesday, December 12, 2006

advances or just a new path?

So I was remembering back to the days of the traditional journal. Not that people don't still keep them. However, on most days I find myself here on the trusty blog, as my typing skills (even though I proudly don't type on the "home keys") far exceed my rapid penmanship. It's a no-brainer that the majority of the time, I'd much rather sit down, keyboard in front of me, and express whatever is on the top of my mind.

Technology's a funny thing though. The phrase "technological advances" surfaces constantly, almost daily, be it in conversation, in the news, or in this DC-resident's blog's ramblings. It made me think though... it's somewhat funny to call them advances. Sometimes it's things that are simply just improvements on what we already had. Sometimes though it's something that you never used to need that somehow becomes something you rely upon. That you can't live without. I'm guilty as charged here on so many levels... be it my cell phone, my iPod, my email, or even gchat (which, I'll admit to being quite annoyed when it has the nerve to go down).

It makes me remember the time though when it wasn't expected for you to be reachable 24/7. I know many people resist the Blackberry at work thing (even though I have one coming January-ish, I must admit I do love the "crack-berry" references I have heard from many directions), saying that they don't want to be reachable at anytime for any reason. But don't we live in a society where we just don't wait anymore? And aren't you already reachable 24/7 by another means (i.e. that cell phone you can't be without)? I'll be the first to admit to not being patient. It's something I work on... and I'm well aware it's a fault. But our society doesn't encourage anyone to try to develop patience by any means.

Sometimes it's nice to remember the old fashioned way. One of my favorite possessions is a small three-ringed binder with a clear sleeve on both the front and back. Each has a collage of random pictures that capture my interests, hobbies, etc. It's served as a sort of journal as well as a place where I write my poetry.

Don't get me wrong. I love my blog. I love being able to share thoughts with friends in all corners of the world, and I also love to be able to express those thoughts to people who I have never and perhaps will never meet. That's pretty powerful.

But there's something powerful too about the old fashioned way. Something I love about thinking in the most random of times and jotting down thoughts on anything from a plane ticket to a napkin and holding onto that. Some of the posts I've transposed onto this blog originated in such "humble", old-school beginnings. With the online blog, you get the finished product. With the lined scrap of notebook paper, you can see the scrapped stanzas, the tweaked words which might ultimately pan out to be the more superior alternative or, at minimum, represent the process that led to the ultimate end product.

Perhaps it sounds funny, coming from someone who's self-admittedly techno-dependent, but sometimes it's nice to go back to the way it used to be. To appreciate the differences and the upside to the other method. To, if only for a couple of hours, turn off the cellphone, pretend you don't have to be there at any given second for whomever happens to decide they need you at that moment, and just exist. Just disconnect. Even in the midst of the busy city, it's possible.

Are they "advances"? Sure. If we're not advancing, we're standing still... and I don't think that's something society knows (or even wants to know) how to comprehend. Ultimately though, I'd much rather think of them as new paths... new chosen courses. What we were doing before - yeah - it wasn't broken. Even sometimes, who knows, it might surprise you and turn out to be better approach in the long run.


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