28 April 2011

. . . and the decline of western civilization5

It's been a while since I've added to this series, which is not an indication that there is no current decline in western civilization. Rather, it is more indicative of my own distractions posting on other items. Nevertheless, we return with . . .

"The DVR Ten-Second Rewind Button and the Decline of Western Civilization"

There are a few features that I enjoy about the DVR: 1) the ability to pause live TV, 2) the 30-second skip ahead, 3) the 10-second skip back, and others. But there seems to be an ill-effect coming from our ability to manipulate live action - we now have difficulty experiencing live action!

Not long after we had been using our DVR I found that while driving in my car I would miss something on the radio and would reach for the dial as though I could jump back ten seconds. This is because that is what I had become accustomed to while watching television. My level of engagement to the information coming at me had shifted. Honestly, this freaked me out a bit, and I have reevaluated my lifestyle and made some changes lest I get too far lost.

But now I see how this is becoming part of our larger culture. People simply do not listen or pay attention any longer to the reality of the moment. It is perhaps a combination of becoming reliant upon technology to repeat information at our will, and our now-inherent drive to wait for our technology to tell us it was important in the first place. Yes, all of this technology has a certain place, but only when it is subservient to us (not vice versa).

One example from a recent visit to Chipotle, the greatest manifestation of the burrito. I had to order four times in order to be heard and understood (only two people were taking my order). This is because the one person was preoccupied with talking to other people who were working, and also because she would sort-of hear me and then ask me the same question mere seconds later. She was using her own ten-second rewind on me . . . except that I was experiencing repetitive frustration.

The DVR 10-second rewind is not the sole source of society's ills. But it is proving itself to be a contributor, and is thus included here as a small piece of the decline of western civilization.

1 comment:

Douglas Groothuis said...

One way to solve the problem is to stop watching TV entirely. We don't have cable and didn't "convert" the TV from antennae to the new system. so, we are off the grid and loving it.