Tag Archives: Psyche

Unplugging Because. . .

Technology, like sex, has a love/scare relationship with most Americans.

Until relatively recently, sex has been something that you just did not speak about in anything remotely resembling polite company. Not only did Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds with a nightstand between them, but most of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television have to do with sex.

The flip side to that, however, is that while sex might not have been a public subject, it was the thing most on the minds of American men and women. Porn thrived, especially with the arrival of the internet and the ability of people to buy it anonymously. You couldn’t talk about it, but it was used to sell everything from cars and toothpaste to fridges and massagers.*

Things haven’t changed all that much, but it has become a bit less of a taboo in public discussion. Or at least, my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Talking About Sex, and her friends seem to have no trouble talking about this kind of thing anywhere and everywhere.

I’m thinking technology is beginning to occupy a similar place in the American psyche. Not so much its existence, but, rather its use.What's the point of things like the National Day of Unplugging? Are we that scared of what the internet, in particular, and technology, in general, can offer to us?

More and more people are joining movements like the National Day of Unplugging, which was held early last month. The point of it was to abjure technology from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8. Ironically, folks who participated took photos of themselves and posted them on the National Day of Unplugging website to talk about “I unplug to. . . ”

I’m assuming ironic-deafness is a prerequisite to becoming a Luddite.

This whole thing reminds me of people who used to say, “I never watch television, except maybe a few hours of Masterpiece Theater on PBS.” Mostly folks said that to make it look like they were too smart, too sophisticated to debase their minds with the common drivel the rest of us enjoyed.

I suspect these folks are probably the same ones who won’t use an e-reader because they only read “real” books.

So, really, what’s the point? It’s not like any of these people are going to unplug for the rest of their lives. It seems to me that the whole point of this unplugging is to plug back in and then broadcast to one and all how virtuous you were because you put down your smartphone for a while.

It might have something to do with the fact that people don’t trust themselves very much. They use programs that block the internet or blank their web browsers so they won’t fool around when they should be working. They keep checking their messages and e-mail during meals with other people.

Even if you have always-on connection, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, yeah?

Mostly, I think the attraction of these sorts of things lies in the fact that, for most people, the idea of change is scary. And technology is all about change, about doing things differently, more efficiently, on a wider scale than before, seeing new things in your lives that had always been there, but were never noticed.

Dudes and dudettes get caught up in the world and begin racing toward the future with eyes open, but stop every once in a while, stumble, and realize just how much change we’ve been through and still face.

The strong smile, assess and continue. The weak unplug.

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by Richard

You dudes ever wonder why it is that we always equate freedom with the idea of flying? No, seriously. I was wondering about that today and thought I’d maybe put it to you dudes.

I mean, freedom, at its most basic level, means you can go where you want to go and do it when you want to do it. So, walking should be just as freeing as flying. However walking is seen as (sorry) pedestrian (even that word for someone who walks is indicative of something common and unworthy of respect), even though its something most of us can do and will take us where we want to go.

Instead, if you’re talking freedom, you’re talking flying. I mean, look at free as a bird. Just because birds can fly, they’re seen as being free to go wherever and whenever  they want, giving no thought to being grounded from rain or wind or falling from the sky because you’re tired or the wrong feather dropped out of the wing.

I do understand, in a way. We as humans are stuck on the ground and we can only move at a slow-ish pace, especially as compared to the birds. They can go straight as the crow flies, while we have to follow along on the ground, navigating obstacles like a rat in a maze.

Walking offers us freedom. It just takes a while to get there.

Maybe it’s the fact that we can’t fly. Not by ourselves. Because it’s something we can’t do, we don’t have the freedom to fly when we want. So, therefore, flying itself comes to represent freedom.

It doesn’t seem right, but it does seem to be deeply ingrained in the psyche of almost every human I’ve ever met or heard about. Think about your happiest dreams, the ones from which you never want to wake, the ones from which you do eventually get dragged from and find yourself surfacing with a smile.

I don’t know about you, but, for me, those are the dreams in which I fly. And I am free.

“In our dreams we are able to fly — and that is a remembering of how we were meant to be.” — Madeleine L’Engle

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The Shower From Heck

No adult should ever have to try and get clean in a shower that belongs almost exclusively to a teenage boy. Just. Really. Trust me on this one, it’s not right in the least.

I and my wife, known to some as She Who Must Take Two Showers A Day Or You Will Be Forced To Bear Her Wrath, are having some work done on our shower. Our beautiful, beautiful clean and open shower. While we’re kicked out of our shower, we’re having to use the shower normally used by our oldest little dude. It has not been going well.

Firstly, that shower is just plain small. I don’t know how the kid, who’s now taller than I am, has been showering in this thing for as long as he has. Probably something like a snail. After a while, the tight confines become comforting. I don’t know, but I’m just not used to standing in a shower in which I can touch all the walls at the same time without even fully extending my arms. No more joint showers for us for a while.

Second, while I keep that bathroom clean, I’m learning there are different values for clean. And not all of them are acceptable. Like, say, the little presents left in the toilet. Almost every other day, despite that we’re now making him do 15 pushups for each present. Not right. Not right. I was the towels every other week, but I don’t see how he makes it that long. He tosses his towl into a corner and lets it molder until he needs it again, the semi-dry mess.

Finally, there’s just plain walking into his room. I get the hives whenever I see the mess there and, considering how I grew up and still am, that’s saying something.

All in all, I really recommend that if you don’t have access to your own shower for a while, just go without. Really, you’ll probably smell pretty bad, but your psyche will thank you for it. I’m going to have nightmares for weeks.

— Richard

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