Faced with a networked future that seems to favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate, it’s time to press the pause button and ask what all this means
It is that thinking itself is no longer—at least no longer exclusively—a personal activity. It’s something happening in a new, networked fashion. But the cybernetic organism, so far, is more like a cybernetic mob than new collective human brain.
Meanwhile, we tend to think less about how to integrate new tools into our lives than about how simply to keep up. Businesses throw money at social networks because they think that’s the way to market in a digital age. Newspapers go online less because they want to than because they think they have to—and with largely disastrous results. Likewise, elementary school boards adopt “laptop” curriculums less because they believe that they’ll teach better than because they fear their students will miss out on something if they don’t.
Freedom—even in a digital age—means freedom to choose how and with whom you do your reflection, and not everything needs to be posted for the entire world with “comments on” and “copyright off.”