Blogging is like going to the gym, enthusiasm is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going. So rather than fall off the wagon over Christmas, I’ve been trying to write something that pulls together the thoughts that have been floating round my head for the past few days. Sometimes it all seems to be about to come together to make something meaningful, but the bits always drift apart in the end. So, can you join up the dots and make a profound statement about progress and technology on my behalf? I’ll just dig out my trainers and go to the gym…
1. The Christmas I was nine my parents bought Pong which was then state of the art in electronic entertainment. I did most of my under-age drinking in the first pub in Lichfield to have a Space Invaders machine. This Christmas my children are 11 and 8. My parents provided the funds to buy us a Wii for Christmas. Is this progress? Should I be worried that geological ages can pass before they get tired of playing the racing cow game ? One of the virtues of Pong was that it was so dull that once the novelty of playing wore off you generally stopped and got a book to read instead. Are books “better” than TV games? What will my grandchildren be playing when they’re nine? Isn’t it weird that I, who still think of myself as being (quite) young, have seen in my lifetime two entire industries (gaming and mobile telephony) be born and take over the world, to the point that they are changing the way human beings behave?
2. On Start the Week , Susan Greenfield was saying that the ubiquity of computer-based entertainment was changing the way that we think, so that young people now find it hard to deal with abstract ideas or with narrative which develops slowly. As she puts it -technology is moulding a generation of children unable to think for themselves or empathise with others. Is this a) true? b) inevitable? c) what middle aged people always say about the young?
3. Amazon’s biggest electronic seller this year was that electr0nic tablet which impersonates a book. I’m happy to carry all my music around with me on my iPod despite being devoted to vinyl. Why do I hate the idea of carrying lots of books around the same away? Will I give in eventually, just as I have with blogging and owning a Blackberry?
4. Julie’s post about work-life balance came to mind when I was listening to a programme about the Slow Movement, which aims to restore a gentler pace to modern life. The programme included a clip from Tom Hodgkinson of the Idler magazine which campaigns against the work ethic. He blamed the Puritans for the decline in the value placed on play in modern societies and the stress placed on work and duty. In which case is it actually a good thing that my children are enjoying the racing cow game?
See? Completely random, but somehow also linked by something. (Polite) suggestions as to what it might all mean would be very welcome!