Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Yea! I’m doing cartwheels in my heart and actually dancing around my office. My girlfriend returns from Mexico today.

I just learned of the recent death of a powerful activist for women and babies. I honor her and her co-activists this day after Father’s day. Here is the Chicago Tribune’s obituary for Edwina Froehlich a co-founder of La Leche League in 1956. "We all felt a mother should listen to her body, her nature" said Ms. Froehlich.

“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski,” writes Nicolas Carr in the article, Is Goggle making Us Stupid? appearing in the July/August issue of the Atlantic Monthly. That is certainly what this blog is! It is kind of fun, but?

In this quote one gets an inkling what the article is about: ““We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace.” I wonder if it also means we are losing our ability for “deep thinking,” contemplation.

One thing fascinating to me in this article are the connections drawn between Friedrich Nietzsche and his new typewriter, Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of “scientific management,” and the Internet. I am familiar with Taylor from my years as a production manager in industry. We are in the age of efficiency; I feel it everyday, every time I engage in a conversation I think I must exchange only the necessary information and get on to the next thing. I experience this mainly at work where half of my job is talking with people. But people are not really considered important, efficiency and production rules so the company gets the most out of my time. It is all about the money.

In a recent film, The Visitor, we see this dynamic in a round-about way in a comment of Zainab, the Senegalese girlfriend of Tarek, an Arab musician and illegal immigrant from Syria when—as Tarek heads out with Walter, the sad and lonely college professor, to play drums in a drumming circle in the park—she demands that Tarek return home on time; “no Arab time” she says (see the movie for more). In this mood Carr quotes Lewis Mumford from Technics and Civilization, a book I read many years ago. “Mumford described how the clock “disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The “abstract framework of divided time” became “the point of reference for both action and thought.” Maybe we should think of the clock as an evil invention like the atom bomb?

Carr begins his article by recalling that HAL, the malfunctioning computer in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, is sending astronaut Dave Bowman to his death in deep space. He concludes with the suggestion that when, like Bowman in Kubrick's dark prophecy, “we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.”

Go out and get it! Carrie Newcomer’s, The Gathering of Spirits. The opening song is now one of my all time favorites: Holy as a Day is Spent.

I’m still praying. I had a couple answered prayers this past weekend, but they were high-percentage ones, likely to have happened without my praying. I’m still thankful though. They were important to my mental health, so to speak, and made my day when they occurred. So I said, “Thank you Lord, for hearing my prayer.”

1 comment:

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