“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”
In 1802, over two centuries ago and far before the invention of automobiles, telephones, and photography, let alone Facebook, Twitter and satellite dish TV, Wordsworth was already upset about overly complicated modern life. What would he have thought of the overpowering world of technology in which we are now engulfed?
A world where, once again, my cell phone has run away from home.
Where my brand new state-of-the art TV has gone on strike.
Where the i-phone ads on TV touting Siri, the Wonder Girl, virtual personal assistant extraordinaire, are complete fantasies. In commercials, Siri bears close resemblance to the soft-spoken and accommodating computer in Star Trek: The Next Generation. She can find anything for her boss on TV –coffee shops, linen stores or the next galaxy in a nano-second,
Not the case with my own personal Siri, who, quite frankly, is somewhat of a shrew. This fembot has a real attitude. Dare to ask her a simple question and you get a chilly rebuff:
“I’m sorry, but I’m not programmed for that question.”
“Well, excuse me!”
Sometimes I think our expectations of high tech are too high and sometimes I think we should hightail it back to a simpler time before computers and cell phones were the leaders of the free world.
It seems more and more that the innovations that promise to make my life easier almost always make it more difficult.
Take my television---please, I implore you!
Our gorgeous new TV is a state-of-the-art slender pane of black plasma. It boasts all the desired credentials: LED, LCD, Blue-Ray, etc., and can play movies the same day they come out at the local movie theatre. The picture itself is exquisite; so crisp it makes real life look out of focus.
Now if only I could only turn it on!!!
Because it requires the use of no less than 6 remote controls to engage it!
Understand this. I am old.
And I am cranky.
So the last thing I want to do is play musical remotes, guessing which remote does what.
And the days of springing up from the couch and across the room to press an on/off button are a distant memory.
I don’t even dare to make the trip to stand face to face with my TV, which stands as black, impenetrable and mysterious as the monolith in the opening of 2001: Space Odyssey.
Lest you find me hopeless, be assured that I am not a complete Luddite. I actually have a website and blog .
And stand back for this--I readily admit that e-mail and caller ID are two of the great innovations of the 21st century. Kudos and knighthoods to the brilliant inventors of these products, which have made my life run more smoothly.
My needs are simple. And this puts me at odds with the state-of-the-art. Because the realm of technology places a premium on complexity. In this age of specialization, it’s a new status symbol to not only possess, but to be savvy in the latest program, social site or gadget. A cutting edge caste system to sort the haves from the have-nots.
It’s a brave new world all right, and my secret is to frequently abandon it.
TV loses its luster when I sink into a few pages of Jane Austen, where the most high tech object is a quill pen. And so, when I start to feel that the world is too much with us, I muster the strength to say “Goodbye!” to social media and “Hello!” to the anti social me.
Ta ta, Twitter!
So turn off your gadgets and turn on the primeval and powerful art of yoga, --the perfect elixir for these ridiculously over-complicated times!