I was reminiscing to myself last night as you do from time to time. I recall back in the early part of my career how there where no cell phones, no smart phones, no IPads, no PCs, no windows, no Google, no Facebook…… and wasn’t it great! If I went on a trip, I didn’t expect to keep in touch with people, no one called me looking for something. Occasionally, I’d get on a payphone and call home to check in but that was it. Back then, a holiday was a holiday.
On Sunday, we leave for two weeks in the USA. Sunday looks like being miserable with three flights and around 14 hours in the air. But I am looking forward to my vacation and going back to the US. I will of course dutifully take my iPhone and IPad. I will of course, take urgent business calls and respond to email periodically. In short, I am still connected, still on line and still working….. What a contrast to my early days of work.
Two years ago, I was in Houston, TX and we went to see a major gas company to see if we could get some business. As we waited in the hallway for our appointment, we were looking at the display of archaic computing equipment (we were after all, in the IT department of the company). Most of the equipment on display was Compaq equipment (A Houston company). Much to my amazement there was a huge PC complete with connected keyboard, huge screen all neatly wrapped up into a suitcase-size portable laptop. Only 15-years earlier, I had been lugging the exact same equipment around Europe trying to sell a piece of software we had developed and which was on this ‘laptop’ to demonstrate to prospective clients. Boy – did I suddenly feel old.
In the 30-years I have been in employment, the world has changed beyond belief. Tomorrow’s world is yesterday. The impact on each of us is immense and I suspect very stressful. God help our kids as they will likely never know a world where a holiday really was a holiday without email, Facebook and such. While we have gained something, I often feel that we have lost so much more.
When I was a kid, we would play in the street with bits of wood, dustbin lids and our bikes. Endless hours of self-made fun. Many of the kids today are locked into living their lives through their IPads or PC’s. People are getting dumber because of all this reliance on technology I read. It’s true, I know because I will often listen to GPS instructions even when I know they seem wrong. How many times have I cursed the bloody thing knowing full well I KNEW it was wrong but decided it must be right because it knows better?
The art of living is observation. Reality is to be observed. We can’t observe if our heads are stuck into our phones, PCs and Ipads can we? I think we should all work at taking time everyday to look around us and become fascinated with the world as opposed to the technology that keeps us away from it. Easier said than done but it needs to be done.
Meanwhile, I don’t know if Einstein really said this but I find it rather apt anyway….