Email, the Tyrannical Beast

John Freeman’s The Tyranny of Email was just what the doctor ordered.  I’d been going around singing “doctor, doctor, give me the news” (Thanks, Robert Palmer), trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  Jumpy.  Antsy.  Distracted. Couldn’t concentrate.

And Freeman’s book was a great diagnostic tool:  I’m wired.  Literally.  That’s my problem.  Or wirelessly over-attached to my computer, technically.  I’ll share a few quotes so you can get the feel, but please read the book.  I want the whole world to read it and subscribe to the suggestions in Freeman’s “manifesto for a slow communication movement.”  Before we spin off the planet.

A few nuggets:

  • “Their keyboard has become a messaging conveyor belt – -and there is no break time.”
  • “…most of us have a water cooler inside our computer surrounded by five thousand people, all talking at once.”
  • “We are approaching a world in which every letter we write home, every love poem we read, every condolence note, political petition, and letter of apology we type is framed by a penumbra of automobile ads, perfume pitches, entreaties to enter online gambling emporiums.”
  • “Technology amplifies human instincts and desires, but it must obey the laws of nature if it is to sustain human life, not destroy it.  And so we must remember we are part of nature, too.  We may be dependent on machines, but we operate like them at our peril.  A diving suit can sustain a swift ascent from 3,000 meters below sea level; the human body inside it cannot.  A man who works past the point of exhaustion in a mine will collapse; a machine can keep on digging.”
  • “We are at the beginning, not the end, of this problem.”

Do you feel it yourself?  Have you lifted your eyes beyond your laptop lately?  Are you jumpy?  Are you singing “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off?”  I was too.  Freeman’s book helped.

Enough said.  I’m going out for a walk.

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~ by Cary on September 11, 2010.

2 Responses to “Email, the Tyrannical Beast”

  1. I am now going to close my computer and get some ice cream…..but then what am I to do??? 🙂

  2. Log back on to see if I replied.

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