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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Base Instinct: i-phones and the information Cuisinart

With the introduction of i-phones and their ilk, an argument may be made that the information age has found not its telescope, but its Cuisinart. The idea seems to be that in order to be as productive in processing ideas as we can be processing baloney (which come to think of it have a lot in common), we can slice, dice, or otherwise multi-task information to ramp up productivity, happiness, and even consciousness to new awe inspiring levels.

I of course demur, by referring to something else that the new gadgets really appeal to, namely the lemur.

It has to do with the universal, dare I say basest instinct that can easily be overindulged to our emotional ruin. Does this set the stage for a personal rant against the use of these little devices to invade privacy, commit illegal acts, access immoral sites, or generally waste time? Not really. You see, I'm talking about our true base instinct, the urge which is the base not only for us but for our furry ancestors and mammalian cousins. Thus the all in one information appliance appeals in essence not to the consumer, sports fan, or inner child, but to the little lemur that is within us all.

I'm talking about this little guy.

Human Being: Base Model

The lemur, like other small mammals, must be continually on the move. A constant forager, he has to be continually alert to every aspect of his environment in order to find something to eat, or escape from being eaten. This foraging instinct is still with us today, as we are innately sensitive to little surprises that can entail the difference between life and death. The only problem is, for the current generation at least, life and death is not an issue any more. Regardless, we continually act as if it were, and if we had our druthers we would access email, Internet, movies, news, and make phone calls every minute on the minute for hundreds of times a day like a matter of life and death. But does productivity really benefit from accessing the Internet, voice mail, email, and 'Desperate Housewives' videos 400 times day? I think not. Even if mania provided us with some long term benefit, we would still likely end up like little Napoleons, stranded on some rock in the Atlantic.

So there is our grim future, a stress filled life in the fidget lane, with no respite for most of us until we are eventually committed to some proverbial rock in the Atlantic, far from the information superhighway.

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