Chill Out, Turn Off The Tech, Relax -- But Is It Really Better?

from the too-many-choices dept

As we get more and more technology and more and more choices, it appears that we're finally reaching a backlash from the "simplicity" crowd. This isn't, necessarily, a Luddite style response (though, it's likely to be co-opted by that crowd), but simply a suggestion that you don't have to always be connected, and you don't have to have the latest and greatest of every gadget. That's what people are being told at the latest TED conference. While the basic concept is important to remember, it doesn't necessarily follow (as the presenter states) that life was somehow "better" without all of these choices. All it really means is that some people have trouble managing all of those choices and information that's coming at them all of the time. When managed properly, those choices can make life better for any particular individual. However, when mismanaged, they can make things more confusing or hectic. So, it's not about the choices or the always being connected -- but how individuals learn to deal with it. With that in mind, it's good to be reminded that you can turn off, and you can slow down -- but it doesn't necessarily mean that one way or the other is better.


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  1.  
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    Kevin, Jul 14th, 2005 @ 2:02pm

    No Subject Given

    With all due respect, you make it sound like "some people" are just too weak and don't make the effort to "manage" their choices. It's not so simple or easy. There really are proven psychological effects of too many choices, and Schwartz describes them in his book. He doesn't claim that everything was better in the old days.

    Don't be so frightened of a "backlash" and a few Luddites. Reasonable skepticism is healthy.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous of Course, Jul 15th, 2005 @ 8:53am

    Some Can, some can't

    People can suffer from a sort of sensory deprivation effect if they're removed from the hustle and bustle. I live far out in the hinterlands. When some of my friends visit, I've noticed that they become fidgety. They just can't sit and relax, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, and leave the cellphones and such turned off. A few have to retreat from this strange environment back into the house to sit in front of the computer (I have no TV.) I believe that a person's brain adjusts to the level of stimulation and when it's suddenly turned down there's a sort of withdrawal effect. I'm not a neoluddite, heck, the bleeding edge has paid for my house. But some people just don't know how (or when) to turn it off.

     

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