The Ineluctability and Persistence of the Now

Maybe Not So Smart

Maybe Not So Smart After All

I have frequently written about the distractions of modern life, especially with regards to all those convenient little electronic devices created to suck away all your moments of quiet contemplation. Meditation? Hah! It is to laugh!

As one who has ripped out all those little electronic tendrils that seek to ensnare me into an ineluctable and persistent “now” consisting mostly of advertising and various types of cultural noise, I try to be immune. But there are always billboards, loud advertising messages from the TV that Martine is watching across the room when I am on my computer, newspaper ads, and so on. Although I have a cell phone, it is probably one of the last LG models that are non-Internet, non-Smart, and non-Kim-Kardashian-compatible. And I have resolved not to buy a Smart Phone unless there is absolutely no other cellular option available.

According to Malcolm McCullough, a professor of design and architecture at the University of Michigan:

A quiet life takes more notice of the world, and uses technology more for curiosity and less for conquest [though I would ask, Who is conquering whom?]. It finds comfort and restoration in unmediated perceptions. It increases the ability to discern among forms of environmentally encountered information. It values persistence and not just novelty. It stretches and extends the now, beyond the latest tweets, beyond the next business quarter, until the sense of the time period you inhabit exceeds the extent of your lifetime.

I do not think I could write these blogs unless I had a more directed thought process. In fact, I fear that the generation now in school could have done permanent damage to their ability to concentrate. If this tendency is irreversible, welcome to a whole new world of barbarism. Not a pretty thought.

Is all that we are capable of concentrating on is Miley Cyrus’s nude body as she swings on a wrecking ball? If so, we are already a new lost generation. Excuse me while I try to find a nice quiet place in the past to hide and shut out all the noise.