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Re: computers and isolation
I am going to the Earth out side my door to enjoy nature, now, for I have
spent some of my day at the grass roots level talking online with this
community of thoughtful people and I do thank you for your words of
creativity, new knowledge, and growth for us all.
----- Original Message -----
From: J. Burds or E. Taylor <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2001 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: computers and isolation
> I went to the computer because I wished to live deliberately, to front
> the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to
> teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
> (apologies to HDT)
> Did you know that computers are catching up with television? They have a
> long way to go, given recent averages of 28 hours of television per week
> teens. However, computers are much more interactive than TV. Even so, a
> lot of computer time is by oneself.
> I am concerned with the amount of time people (not just our students)
> in front of a screen. Have you seen the Non Sequitur cartoon, where the
> woman pulls the kid away from the TV, shows him a beautiful vista, and the
> kid asks, "Is this available on CD-Rom?"
> I don't have a problem with people having time for solitude. It's healthy
> and necessary. My concern is how much time is spent divorced from the
> environment, the outdoors, nature.
> I think a lot of people are so isolated from the earth that two things
> happen: businesses get away with a lot of destruction and pollution;
> individuals do not see the results of their actions.
> NPR had a story on a farm last week, in which someone commented they could
> not eat an animal they had known. A farmer responded, "I'd rather eat an
> animal I _had_ known!" What happens to people when they don't connect the
> hamburger with the cow?
> What if people in the Northeast spent one quarter of their screen time in
> the woods? Would there be a groundswell of opposition to the coal plants
> that cause the acid rain that is killing the lakes? Or people along the
> Appalachian trail? Would they demand more efficient vehicles to cut down
> the pollutants killing the trees? The largest cement plant in North
> may be built in my neck of the woods. Suppose the city folk in St. Louis
> got out to experience that area? Or live next to it?
> What is the environmental impact of making a computer?
> No, I'm not advocating as strong a stance as Wendell Berry. Computers can
> be helpful. I'm just afraid we won't be able to see the forest for the
> Ed T.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "tednellen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <email@example.com>; "Tari Fanderclai" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2001 12:13 PM
> Subject: Re: computers and isolation
> > nice piece of satire, tari.
> > sorta like the same argument that guns kill. it aint the guns it's what
> > people choose to do with them. same as with computers.
> > thanks.
> > tednellen
> > On Wed, 28 Mar 2001, Tari Fanderclai wrote:
> > > Computers DO isolate people. We need to stop claiming that they
> > > undermines our credibility, since people can see very well for
> > > that computers isolate people, and what are we, some kind of
> > > Telling someone, "No, no, this isn't isolating, it's enriching!" when
> > > they're feeling a keen sense of isolation is unforgivable willfull
> > > bullheadedness on our part; the failure in such a case is ours, not
> > > theirs.
> > >
> > > Setting aside problems like people disappearing into their computers
> > > the neglect of friends, family, and personal responsibilities (not
> > > rarity--all sorts of things, including the dot com industry, wouldn't
> > > exist if it weren't for people who want to spend all their waking and
> > > of their sleeping moments in front of a computer, and at times the
> > > families of these ultra geeks must think there's no effective
> > > between them and the internet addicts featured in those alarmist human
> > > interest stories)--extremes aside, even when we're talking about
> > > would say make normal, healthy use of a computer to work, learn, and
> > > socialize--any of us is isolated in various ways while using a
> > >
> > > Sure, you might not feel isolated while you're conversing with virtual
> > > colleagues or hanging out in the Shetland Pony Breeders Chat Room or
> > > playing Nettrek or whatever. But maybe your family or friends feel
> > > isolated from you. Maybe they feel it the same way that they feel
> > > isolated when you're reading or practicing the violin. Or--maybe they
> > > feel MORE isolated because it appears you've chosen virtual companions
> > > over them--maybe you've had to explain this internet thing to them,
> > > you've had to agree to time limits. Maybe you've had to insist that
> > > another family member come out of her room for the dinner hour every
> > > night.
> > >
> > > Books on HCI and user and task analysis are full of stories like this:
> > > Workers doing tasks that necessitate a lot of interaction are given
> > > computer programs that speed up part of the process, and that
> > > remove the necessity of many of their interactions with each other.
> > > Guess what: they become unhappy, they complain of feeling isolated,
> > > sometimes they rebel and go back to doing the tasks the old way. They
> > > enjoyed their jobs in the first place partly because they enjoyed the
> > > interaction. Or, new software is introduced and people are offered
> > > computer based training. A huge percentage don't use it--they call
> > > helpdesk or ask each other for help. A trainer is brought in to offer
> > > class. Most of the people who wouldn't use the CBT system go quite
> > > happily to the class. They wanted to talk to a person, they wanted to
> > > in a class with other people to learn.
> > >
> > > When's the last time you got annoyed at someone who wanted to get
> > > instructions from *you* when you'd put instructions online? It annoys
> > > too; it annoyed me just yesterday--but I still think we have to ask
> > > ourselves: how many of those people are actually lazy, and how many
> > > feel the computer's power to isolate more keenly than they feel its
> > > to broaden and expand?
> > >
> > > In my experience these same people are not put off by other solitary
> > > activities--activities we might call *more* solitary, such as reading
> > > practicing music or doing any number of things that one either has to
> > > or chooses to do alone. I'm not sure why that is; it makes me wonder
> > > the kind of interaction you have with a computer--even one that's
> > > connected to the net and has virtual people inside that talk to
> > > even *especially* that kind--seems to some people not like a
> > > kind of interaction, but like some sort of poor, shadowy substitute
> > > real interaction--the fat-free cheese of socialization.
> > >
> > > If we don't admit that computers are in some ways isolating, then for
> > > thing, we're as bad as the alarmists who claim the internet's all
> > > putting victims in the way of posers and pedophiles and other negative
> > > crap. And, if we don't admit that computers are in some ways
> > > then we don't understand some students' reactions to them, and can't
> > > how to accommodate them.
> > >
> > > An interesting question, I think, is how this situation will change
> > > the computer ceases to be a machine on a desk that you have to go sit
> > > or even a device you have to carry in your pocket.
> > >
> > > Tari Fanderclai
> > >
> > >
> > > * CWOnline -- Computers & Writing Online 2001 discussion list
> > > * To unsubscribe or to get more confererence information, visit:
> > > * http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/cwonline2001/
> > >
> > Ted Nellen 8-) email@example.com
> > Cybrarian http://www.tnellen.com/ted/
> > CyberEnglish http://www.tnellen.net/cyberenglish/
> > Bronx Tech http://www.tnellen.com/bronx_tech/
> > _o \o_ __| \ / |__ o _ o/ \o/
> > __|- __/ \__/o \o | o/ o/__ /\ /| |
> > > > / \ ( \ /o\ / ) | (\ / | < \ / \
> > One must learn by doing the thing. For though you think you know
> > it, you have no certainty until you try.
> > ~ Sophocles ~ (BC 495-406, Greek Tragic Poet)
> > * CWOnline -- Computers & Writing Online 2001 discussion list
> > * To unsubscribe or to get more confererence information, visit:
> > * http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/cwonline2001/
> * CWOnline -- Computers & Writing Online 2001 discussion list
> * To unsubscribe or to get more confererence information, visit:
> * http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/cwonline2001/
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