Monday, February 26, 2007

From Point A to Point B

Technology has changed many things about our lives. The capacity to accomplish four tasks at once has almost become ingrained in our day to day functions. While this is arguably the litmus of our evolving society--from medicine to industry--I believe the greatest impact technology has had on humans is how we experience time.

There are the obvious. Cell phones, emails, blackberries all conspire to keep us organized and in touch with projects we've over committed ourselves to because we're lulled into a sense that somehow these devices will squeeze minutes out of the proverbial turnip. But if you think about how time affects us on a deeper level, it's not hard to see the difference between our modern world and our ancestors of a hundred years ago.

Then, people boarded grand ocean liners, prepared to spend weeks at sea experiencing the rolling of the ocean waves, a celestial feast night after night, and a community that existed within the confines of a steel bubble. Lovers found each other. Lives changed.

When we board an aircraft in New York, bound for London, we're essentially making the same journey the people in the ocean liner made. Point A to Point B. But we're not experiencing it in the same time frame. Instead of foraging relationships with other passengers, we tune into our ipods. Why get to know the man in 28F? In the time it takes to watch a few first-run movies, he'll be a stranger again.

Maybe that's why the allure of the open road still captivates us. Deep inside, we realize it's not the destination, but the journey, that fills us in a way that the fast-forward version never can. It is life--experienced. Not merely endured.

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