Like a moth drawn to the flame, I think it may be time for me to get an Iphone. But I’m worried – not scared –just worried. I suffer from AADD – Adult Attention Deficit Disorder – and I can drive people around me crazy with my distractions. Staying focused on chores and routine tasks, and keeping things in order (to include my life) are not my forte. My filing system is a stack of papers covering my U-shaped desk and surrounding my computer – I just don’tt seem to get around to sorting them out. I am drawn to interruptions and distractions: to answer the phone, to check my email (again), to get a cup of coffee, to amble into the offices of my workmates to discuss how we make our world a better place. In Meyers Briggs terms, I am an ENFP – a dreamer, an idealist, someone who does poorly at the discipline of managing the details necessary to keep things working well, because I am easily distracted by ….whatever.
So then, why get an Iphone and carry this little distraction generating gismo around with me everywhere I go? Am I the alcoholic who takes his laptop to the bar to do his work, or the overweight, junk-food addict sitting at McDonalds thinking about a healthier lifestyle, or the sex addict trying to build meaningful relationships in an erotic bar? Hmmm.. could be….
But I’m going to get an Iphone anyway. Because I (think I) can handle it!
I believe that these 3 and 4G devices are ushering in a new era in our culture, and I don’t want to be left behind. I want to play. I want to stay ‘in the game.’ There are those who have eschewed email, cell phones, and the internet – I respect those who have made that choice out of principle rather than fear, but I am not one of them. I need people, and want to be part of the give and take of social interaction in my own culture, to fulfill my own need to engage with the world. Like everyone else (yes, like the alcoholic who thinks s/he can be just a social drinker), I still think I can handle the distractions of the Iphone.
The simple answer is that I want to be part of our busy culture and society – and I still think I can do it on my own terms.
I believe that the ‘smart phone’ is becoming such a ubiquitous part of our culture, that it will soon become as essential to playing in the mainstream of American culture as an email account, wide band internet access and a cell phone are today.
There is a debate raging in the blogosphere about the good and the bad of technology. L. Gordon Crovitz sums up the discussion well in a short column in the Wall Street Journal (23 Aug ) “Is Technology Good or Bad? Yes.” In her column of 21 Aug, “Information Overload is Nothing New,” Peggy Noonan pointed out that the debate about the dangers of information overload goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire. Many of us are thinking about the danters and unintended consequences that may come with these powerful new capabilities. Perhaps a modern-day Tolkien should write a trilogy, “The Lord of the Smart-phone” in which instant easy access to well organized information, tailored to your own personal education, culture and needs is the ‘ring.’ Is Steve Jobs Gollum? Am I?
I acknowledge that there are wise, well adjusted and spiritual people who have withdrawn to the edges of our culture and live happily at a safe distance from frenetic activity, new opportunities, exciting possibilities and all the resulting stress and craziness. These ‘outsiders’ watch and shake their heads with little sympathy, and perhaps even less understanding. I hope to join them someday, out on the edges of our culture, to watch and to smile.
But not yet. I’m reminded of St Augustine’s prayer, “Lord, make me chaste, just not yet.”
For the time being, continuing to play in the world of frenetic activity will scratch my itch to stay involved in the American ‘game of life,’ to be engaged with a wide array of people in my own culture. I hope to gain some insights into just what is going on – and I recognize that I may also be adding un-necessary stress and anxiety to my life – as so often happens.
Like a moth, I am drawn to the flame. My intent is to fly around it, enjoy its heat and light, without burning my wings….we’ll see.
I will get an Iphone in the next month or so….Stay tuned. Bob