Twitter, Tweet, Crash

March 19, 2013

Let me be clear, I’m not a fan or follower of Ned Ludd. I am not a Luddite.

Technology can be the engine of beneficial economic and social change. Case in point, the “age of the computer” has revolutionized the world. Computers have changed how we know, what we know, and how we communicate.

Today, iPads, iPhones, and smartphones have become our private portals to the world. Both by means of voice and text, we use them to garner information, conduct business, order merchandise, and thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, stay connected to family, friends, and, theoretically, an infinite number of acquaintances and absolute strangers.

The downside of our ability to be constantly connected is that we have, in fact, become overly connected. These miraculous machines have created a new draconian protocol of instant messaging and instant response. The habit of using our own various phone devices has become an addiction and part and parcel of our daily routine.

We check them as soon as we get out of bed, in the bathroom, while having coffee, on the train, walking to a meeting, at a meeting, at the store, most annoyingly, while simultaneously talking to a person who is right in front of you, and, most alarmingly, while driving a car.

A recent survey indicates that 1 out of every 5 car accidents occurs while one of the drivers is texting. And, according to AT&T Illinois President, Paul LaSchiazza, you are 23 percent more likely to have an accident while texting.

So, the philosophical question has to be asked: Why do people persist in texting while driving? Is it because we can’t stand to be alone? Are we afraid to miss a message? Do we fear being disconnected? Or, is it simply a nervous tick?

Whatever the final reason, I think our texting addiction has converted Descartes classical saying of “I think therefore I am!” into “I text therefore, I am!” Oh yes, here’s one other philosophical thought to keep in mind. It’s from Nietzsche: “That which we love, can kill us.”