Tuesday, April 5, 2011


That pic's my wonderful friend Ros.  I'm sitting here blogging when I should be on my way to her home. 

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, a holiday of freedom, I want to share a TED talk about freedom of choice, by Barry Schwartz.

Schartz points out that technology and culture have maximized our choices for us.  For example, there used to be one telephone service (Ma Bell), one kind of telephone (corded dial-up), with only one application (duh - phone calls).  Now, you have endless phone choices, app choices for those phones, and phone companies to activate those phones.

Schartz asks, "Is the result of so many choice happiness?"

No, he contends.  It's paralysis.  If everything is possible, can we ever be satisfied with the "narrowing" that occurs once we make a choice? 

This really question really resonates for me, especially as I think about the way technology has come to claim my time.  Even the way I just put that - technology is claiming my time, as though facebook or my blog are independent actors who show up to make choices for me about my time - is an indication of how much a slave I have become to technology.   I am putting the finishing touches on this blog, for example, at a moment I believed I would be in my car driving up to see my friend Roselyn. 

Aside:  I've tried to make it up to Roselyn by gracing my blog with her smiling face.  Say, Roz, when I googled for a photo of you, you'll never guess whose pic popped up on google images amid pics of you:  Rusty Bowers.  Go figure.

Every year as Passover arrives, I metaphorically ask myself about my own private Egypt. 

What holds me back?  From what do I need freeing?  

This year, I'm going to be looking at the way technology ties my hands.  Like a food addiction, it's nothing I want to stop "cold turkey" like tobacco. 

I will look at the way my choices about technology impact my life.   What are the consequences, both good and bad, of prioritizing connections I make through facebook and my blogs over other activities?  What are the impacts on my outputs, so to speak?   How does this use of technology serve the principles I live by, and how does it thwart them?  

If you are reading this blog, these are questions you might want to ask yourself!

I hope you enjoy this short TED Talk.  Let me know what comes of it for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment