give me a brake
i am not sure if anyone shares this experience, but everytime i view a document on the computer, i tend to read faster. it is as though at some some subconscious level, the mind senses the rapid flicker, too fast to see, of the display and is thus ‘neurologically accelerated’. the eyes twitch in obedience to the mind’s eye, and makes a ‘scanner’ of our vision. what i have just said has no scientific basis whatsoever. you may add it to the list of the hocus pocus (card-magic and conmen) or mumbo jumbo (drunken fortune tellers and their ‘inspired’ ramblings) if you want.
a more plausible explanation can perhaps be found in the concept of association. think about it, the advent of the personal computer and the internet have introduced into our lives the speedy ability to procure resources for whatever reason. ‘google’ is now a verb and a noun and may i be so bold as to pronounce it a bad word (may i not be sued for defamation, i claim ‘fair comment’). when we place ourselves in front of instruments that we expect immediacy from, where do we then find the patience to analytically go through a 20 page reading (the horror!) with comprehension?
our electronic ‘need for speed’ has only grown greater with hardware and software providers rushing to fulfill this desire. for companies, the technological revolution is the ‘gold rush’ of the modern day. for the rest of us, it is only a headlong rush towards becoming a more impatient people. worse of all, we are doing so with fatalistic glee. sure, we may be leading more ‘fulfilled’ lives but do we really feel fulfillment or are our lives just ‘filled’ with whatever rushes into our consciousness? when the term ‘information superhighway’ was fancifully coined, few would guess how apt it would become. we are living in a time and age when there exists a ‘high speed collision’ – a clash – between the ideals of life as man used to know it and this strange concoction of the real and the virtual.
there is indeed something about the printed page that inspires people to slow down and enjoy the written word. perhaps it is tactile, real to the senses. without waxing lyrical about the rough feel and the distinct smell of fibre, i just want to suggest that books and such evoke the vision of a writer, pouring soul and substance into his or her works. writers may no longer sport ink-stained fingers, but they carry on a tradition that eventually manifests itself in the quiet and appreciative enjoyment of their readers. this is a tough sentiment to verbalise, because flipping pages and working the scroll wheel on a mouse are just not comparable.
i propose that we put on the brakes and learn to reclaim what we have lost of the ‘human experience’. i may piss a person off on msn and he may display that anger through loud capital letters and random arrangements of symbols and exclamations, but i would rather take a middle finger to the face, and in that moment feel alive.
if you cannot digest what you have just read, it’s ok. you were reading off a computer screen.
for more of my thoughts, click here.