15 December 2009

As we consume Apples and BlackBerrys, natural world beats a sensory retreat

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Blackberry meeting
Technology has drawn us into our interconnected webs, in the office, on the street, on the park bench, to the point that we exist virtually everywhere except in the physical world, argues Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post, who writes about us being “digital zombies” and “symbionts” [i.e. an organism living in a symbiotic relationship, here evidently with an electronic world].

“Walk the streets of downtown Washington and you will see many people, a majority perhaps, plugged in to a two-dimensional world. Peer into the vehicles, and tally a scary number of drivers on hand-held cellphones, even texting. This may be illegal in the District, but the temptation is too great. We have become digital zombies.

Actually, we have become symbionts, says Katherine Hayles, author of “How We Became Posthuman.” Just as a lichen is the marriage of a fungus and an algae, we now live in full partnership with digital technology, which we rely on for the infrastructure of our lives.”

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