Our longtime friend Alex is an architect. As systematic as he is, he may be better suited to his occupation than anyone else we know.
So six or seven years ago, we were visiting over a beer, and he was telling me about his Saturday morning. He had a backyard construction project going, and he told me “so yeah, I thought I’d try it this way, and if it didn’t work out I’d just Undo it and try it another way…”
See what happened there? He spends his days mostly in software, where a mouse click or two wipes away a mistake. That mindset momentarily invaded his real world convincingly enough to plant an absurd thought.
I’d remembered that as an interesting anecdote and nothing more until today, when I realized technology had similarly compromised my thinking. I was listening to talk radio at lunch and wanted to hear something said, but hadn’t been listening closely enough. My immediate thought was “well, I’ll rewind it and…”
…except I can’t rewind the radio in my F-150, can I? Oops.
My DVR, and probably to some degree online video, have apparently wrecked my attention span. My default level of attention is now less than it ever has been, because I’ve been conditioned to believe that I can simply rewind if I want to truly listen to something.
You know, everybody worries about nuclear holocaust or environmental calamity as the cause of humanity’s potential extinction during its ontological adolescence.
What if it’s just that we’re eventually going to be unable to listen for thirty damned seconds in a row?