Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I was busy even before the internet.

Yesterday I was talking with a couple of book editors and writers in the heart of Tokyo. One of them, a writer who helped me author several books, casually mentioned how the advance of the new technologies has made us all busier.

"You know, we get all these e-mails, we search for more information on the web, and we are constantly getting busy. Do you think the advance of technology is a good thing?"

Well, I am certainly have heard it said many times, but my genuine puzzlement is whether the internet and other technologies have really made us "busier".

For sure, the quality and sheer volume of things that you can do within, say, 10 minutes have dramatically improved by the advent of internet. Nowadays, when in a conference, I can simultaneously talk and make notes and search for information and read papers and send and read e-mails and tweet and even ustream on my laptop. Yesterdays, I used to just listen and perhaps draw some doodles on my notebook. That's a fact. However, I wonder if we can say that we have become categorically busier nowadays.

When I was a kid, computers and internet were not here with us. And yet, I was quite occupied, from morning till night. I chased butterflies in the field. I read books, sometimes several in an afternoon. I "invented" various games which I played alone, like the "pachinko ball and pencil" baseball games which I hugely enjoyed playing. I painted in oil, I swam, I played baseball (the real thing), I talked with my friends, with my parents, with passers-by. I dreamed, I sighed, I reached, I stumbled.
I think I was busy even before the internet.

"Never say busy!" I said to the writer. "The internet is not the villain!"

She just smiled enigmatically. Because I did not explain in detail my childhood days, I suspect that she thought I was just being diplomatic there.


Reiko.Y said...

I think this is an interesting topic.
I'm sure that I used to feel busy before the Internet in my experience. At that time, I worked hard as a employee and I always felt be pushed something like such time or appointments.

Recently I haven't worked so hard than before, however, there are many things I should do with the new technologies. I usually get up at 5:30. Interestingly, the things I decided to do don't make me feel busy.

I think it's just not the problem in the social environment. Maybe that's because I haven't assumed heavy responsibilities in the society.

yuzu said...

I imagine your time is always your process of growth.
I fill that how marvelous your time continue to infinite.
I could not listen to your lecture yesterday. But I am so
impressed with you.

j3sei said...

I think that we feel busier and that we are doing many things all at once, but that's not necessarily the case.

We can have 10 websites or applications running at the same time but don't spend on them the time that each one requires of us, and we can actually be getting less work done by spreading the attention we put in the tasks we are trying do.

Technology gives us very powerful tools to make our work easier and faster but also we have to go through a lot of noise that distracts us and prevents us of doing it right.