Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A New Syndrome: Continuous Partial Attention

Steven Levy's brilliant essay in the March 27 Newsweek (click the above headline to read the article) says it like it is. Electronic gadgets have changed the fabric of our lives. We're so busy IM-ing, reading e-mail, checking our BlackBerries (if we have one--I wish I did), and being interrupted by cell phone calls and text messages, we're not able to commit to anything at hand. As a serious astrologer might say, it's as if Gemini had taken over our culture. As a sociologist might say, it's as if the psychological "fear of commitment" had extended to society at large. Going on a date in the days before cell phones was an idyllic time, because it was just you and your date. Nowadays--as sitcoms and real life reveal-- you're not out on a date with one person; you're out with him and all the people calling him on his cell phone. About 20 years ago, musing about how previous generations grew up without TV, I wondered what things the next generation would have that we didn't have as kids. The future is here and it's moving so fast, it's tripping over itself.