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Technology will drive all of humanity nuts

My computer is a useless pile of junk!

There, I said it. The CD-ROM drive quit a month ago, but I still had the floppy. Then the monitor grew dim, so I darkened the room while I worked. Now the hard drive is pretty well kaput -- much like my over-stimulated brain.

When I got my desktop in '98, I smugly bragged off the specs to a geek who smiled back with envy. "That's all the computer you're ever gonna need!" he replied. Man was he wrong! Right?

Well, I'm confused. Should I buy a new one? Or should I just reboot my cerebral cortex?

As a young college student, I was cursed by Dr. Antoinette Patterson, an eccentric Buffalo State philosophy professor, during an enlightening lecture on technology and dope. I've been wary of anything "high-tech" ever since. She looked me straight in the eye when she announced, "Technology can be as delightful as chocolate, and as dangerous and addictive as opium."

I remember thinking . . . "Wow! It's just like shopping!"

Considering how fast we're grabbing all the latest high-tech digital goodies, I'd say "addictive" is a perfect description. "Obsessed" and "fetish" come to mind as well. Years later, after graduating, I put on a suit, found a job with a food broker in the city and quickly got myself promoted to a cubicle. But the Thoreau in me was bored stiff.

I thought I might ease my inner turmoil with a big dose of beer and satellite TV. Debating cable vs. dish with a neighbor as I fidgeted with my six pack in a Bells supermarket checkout line, Sister Alida Ross, who was standing behind us, calmly interrupted, "I couldn't help overhear your conversation, sir. Don't do it. Get rid of the TV and tell your kids to read a book. They'll be better off." Her advice was blissfully refreshing -- like getting back to the country. But my kids have never forgiven me for taking it.

I'm being cynical of course. It's just that you can't ignore "progress" unless you happen to be Amish. Folks living in our neck of the woods are way too comfortable and self-absorbed to be bothered by the fact that the exact same wave of technological ecstasy gave us so-called miracles in science and medicine, and all those marvelous toys!

Maybe our unwavering faith in technology is highly misplaced, and technology itself the very cause of our woes? Does anyone ever STOP long enough to think about that?

If you're wondering what this has to do with me buying a new computer, I'll try to explain. You see, I have no choice but to fully embrace this amazing life. And I know I don't need a computer, FiOS internet access, HDTV with 300 channels or the newest "flip" to do it. Those things are little more than expensive distractions that end up owning us. I'm not cheap if that's what you're thinking. I'm just worried about losing the truly important things; like time for a long, guiltless, lazy afternoon by the river with my family and friends, and a decent bottle of Oregon Pinot.

Life is organic, and as hot and luminous as a million stars, something no silicon processor will ever duplicate or experience. Life is about holding hands and dancing softly together in the moonlight. It's about singing your heart out in a billion part harmony and embracing the joys of human mortality. It doesn't matter how fast you can run or how much money you have. A new computer? This nonstop nanosecond world is making us all nuts.

John Tilert, of Hamburg,felt the early bite of the technology bug.

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