wordly images

this is the age of reality

Posted in Helen Jones - Wordly Images by hellyj on February 18, 2009
‘This is the age of reality
But some of us deal with mythology
This is the age of science and technology
But some of us are stopped by antiquity
of science and technology

of science and technology

They are gone out of line
They don’t live for their time
They are far from getting the sign
And their eyes are blind
To the light of the world……..’
Linton Kwesi Johnson – ‘Reality Poem’

I was listening to an interview on NPR the other day and it was with an English guy (didn’t catch his name or job title) who was saying that alot of kids don’t know how to hand write anymore – i.e. as in words and letters. This is because, on the whole, they aren’t taught hand-writing in school any longer. The emphasis is now on learning to use the computer keyboard. We are breeding a whole new nation of people (because that includes adults too who never physically hand-write any longer) who won’t know how to hold a pen properly, let alone write legibly and, perhaps in years to come, the pen will even be classed as some out-moded object from a bygone age! And add on to our increasing dependancy on computers, we’ll also forget how to spell or really think for ourselves any longer – I’m talking spell check and dictionary/thesaurus here.

And lets not forget  our obsession with hand-held technology……… we walk around in our myopic little worlds – staring at tiny screens, having one-sided conversations for all to hear* (see below), not looking where you are going…………not even looking up at the sky any longer. We text in acronyms and kids even talk in them in some cases – well it certainly sounds as if they are judging by the conversations I’ve overheard on buses when school is out!

We were talking to an optician the other week and he said that we now have a generation of kids who are literally becoming myopic because they spend so much time staring at some variation of a screen, at close range for hours on end, every day. This is, sadly it seems, par for the course for generations to come.

F and I were speculating about our all-consuming fixation with the need for constant communication and wondered if one day in the not-too-distant future whether we will have little phone chips surgically inserted into our brains that will be voice activated? Or am I confusing that with a sci-fi movie I saw as a kid?!

Thoughts on a S.A.E. (stamped addressed envelope) please.

P.S. (thats postscript, kids!) why not send at least one hand-written postcard to someone at least once a week? Lets keep penmanship alive (kind of contradictory, I know, this being a computer generated blog, but I do also actually hand write my journal and still write letters as often as I can)

*or, in some cases, if you’re lucky you might get both sides if the story if the  cretin decides to put his phone on loud speaker! what the hell happened to privacy? what is our fascination with the need to let all and sundry listen in on your personal conversation? I could go on………and on about this particular bug-bear which seems to be particularly prevalent here in NYC!!

Greenwich Village, NYC (hellyjphotos 2009 Copyright)


8 Responses

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  1. dana said, on February 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I’m with you. Thought there are many advantages to keyboarding and computer use in the classroom as a learning tool (esp. for people with learning disabilities) the art of letter writing….writing period is heading towards extinction. As for the incessant need to be connected to another person via cell, text etc….it blows my mind! I find it quite intrusive when someone is completely oblivious to the rest of the world and they carry on a conversation like they are sitting in a soundproof room. I remember one particular conversation my 11 year old son and I had to listen to while sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. It had to do with cocaine dealing and sexual escapades at a party the night before. The waiting room was packed! Another was describing her disgusting ailments.

    However, I have also found that people will have open face to face conversations sharing just about anything without the decency of lowering their voices so no one else will hear. It’s like they think they are on Jerry Springer or something. I do blame those crazy “hang out all your laundry” tv shows who promote this behaviour as acceptable.

    wow….i sound like an old fuddy! I think you’re post hit a geyser in me.

    hope NYC is lovely in other ways….it’s one of my favourite cities.

  2. hellyj said, on February 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    i think that may well have been a friend of mine in the Dr’s waiting room!! however, they tend to broadcast everyone else’s private business for all to hear! And thats after that person has just ‘confided’ in them!!!?!
    Yes, you are right, computers can be amazing tools for those with disabilities. Its just those of us without disabilities that need to find a balance.
    Its the ’15 minutes of fame’ syndrome that seems to be all-consuming to many these days. I find it the oddest behaviour when people expose themselves so publically (? spelling – where’s that spell check tool?!).
    I don’t think its anything about being an old fuddy duddy…..its factually-based observations and amazement on my part as to how we seem to losing moving so rapidly into a kind of twi-light zone in a way. I feel sorry for those kids who are missing out on so much due to the hold that modern technology has over them. Its almost like some kind of sinister conspiracy…………..keep the kids down! Now there’s an idea for another posting perhaps? 😉

  3. hellyj said, on February 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    P.S. New York has many very redeeming qualities for sure 🙂

  4. reenym said, on March 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Funny you should blog on this topic. Someone complimented me on my ability to actually write the other day when I gave them a page of handwritten notes and commented that they find it difficult due to the fact that they type mostly. It was a lightbulb moment as I find myself sometimes unable to write properly and was totally perturbed by this as I wrote 21 pages in 2 and half hours for a history exam (probably was mainly unreadable but I did get a B)

    Miss you x

  5. hellyj said, on March 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    It a strange phenomenon, isn’t it. One that seems to be coming up quite a lot lately. We were just talking to a friend about this yesterday too. I keep my written journal just so that I can practice my hand writing but it still doesn’t seem enough to make my writing legible at times (mind you, I do scribble furiously in it sometimes!)! And to think I used to win competitions at school for handwriting!

    Miss you too lovely girlfriend. Could do with some of my best mates and their fantastic sense of humour here!! xx

  6. Katie said, on March 7, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I’m also thinking of the art of writing with a proper ink pen as opposed to a biro…such a lovely ‘process’ in itself…the smell of the ink and feeling that somehow you were creating something just slightly more special, taking time over the words…at least some of the time ~ all our exams had to be written in ink! That said, there are times now my children put my hand writing to shame.

    It is perhaps about a shift in things we take pride over, how we present ourselves..how we view ourselves and what we care about…
    what does it say if we just don’t care what people hear about our personal lives, is it a lack of personal pride and caring about ourselves and self worth?

    Can’t help wondering if it all ties in together somehow, that happy people who are secure and confident with who they are don’t feel the need to shout their lives to the world..

    however, perhaps there is the point we all live such busy lives that those on the run never take the time to stop to keep it private…

    Hate to admit it but I would sorely miss my mobile if I didn’t have it – but only for not being able to contact the kids and R… most other things can wait…

    Hope you’re enjoying yourself out there 🙂

  7. hellyj said, on March 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Kate, nice to see you here again 🙂 My dad always wrote with a lovely old fountain pen. He had the most beautiful penmanship. I’ve still kept his old lists of books he wanted to read etc. I got my love of writing well from him for sure.
    I think you may have a point there about people who feel secure not having the need to blast their business to all and sundry…….even today, on our way downtown, we passed a number of people with those little blue tooth gadgets stuck to their ears, chatting away to thin air. Well, thats what it looks like!! 😉
    I haven’t even gotten round to getting my local cell hooked up again yet and I’ve been here a month so far and I am the text queen of west london normally! But, I’m enjoying not being available 24/7. Especially when I watch two people out to dinner the other night at the table next to us, both with their iPhones on the table, emailing other people during conversation the whole time! However, I do have skype so I’m not completely incommunicado and I do know understand the need for mobiles, particularly with kids.
    It definitely is the age of technology…………just have to make sure that we always remember how to talk and write!

  8. Katie said, on March 7, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    lol you just reminded me of the first time I saw someone chatting away to themselves in the chilled section of the supermarket in a remote part of the country in England, It was a little unnerving and I honestly did think they were very odd…
    till I spotted the thing in their ear that was! 🙂

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