Do you use paper and pen for writing a letter? I do, but rarely and reluctantly—when I have to—for condolences or special occasions. To my dismay, writing with paper and pen feels awkward. It stifles my thoughts and leaves me yearning for my computer with its speed and infinite capabilities that lubricate my brain and spur my creativity.
Thanks to progress and technology we use a car rather than a horse and wagon; we use a washing machine rather than a scrubbing board; and we rarely bother with the encyclopedia—we ask Google. I recall one of my MBA students objecting when I corrected his spelling. “Why bother,” he said, “the spell-checker takes care of it.” Yet I stood my ground—we still need to be able to spell, and we still need to write certain things by hand. But who knows for how long. One day there may be a tiny brain implant that will tell us how to spell and speak in more than one language.
Consider the convenience of an email. No need for an envelope, a stamp, or a mailbox. We don’t even need an address; a simple click will provide it. And you can’t beat its speed.
Science and technology are taking great strides, making life ever easier for us. “Not so,” some people complain. They object to certain dangers of scientific inventions, such as the discovery of the atom that enabled us to make the atom bomb, or bacteria that facilitate biological warfare, or the possibility of altering genes that could cause unpredictable surprises.
Yet aren’t we mistaking the marvels of nature and science for a person’s evil intent? It is not our knowledge of the atom, bacteria, or our genes that is at fault; it is our actions that need to be brought into alignment with modern capabilities. We urgently need to focus on how to be considerate of and compassionate with other human beings, rather than on how to destroy them. Is it wise to place instructions on how to make bombs on the internet, or have automatic weapons in the home?
We cannot turn our back on inventions; it is as impossible as turning back the clock. But we can use them wisely with compassion and tolerance for others foremost in our mind, and by teaching the same to our children, if we want our species to survive.
Why do so many of us prefer a computer to paper and pen? Is it the legibility and neatness that is so attractive? Or is it the ease to make corrections and changes? Or the joy of doing it so effortlessly? Or is it simply habit?
Probably all of them, but whatever it is, I wouldn’t trade in my Mac for anything—except, eventually, for a new model.
Until next time,