Between Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and others, there is something simple and straightforward about unplugged albums. Take away the keyboards, LOUD amplifiers, and other instrumentation, and suddenly individual notes, once taken for granted since they were flying like radar under the surface, once again dominate the sounds of master musicians like these.
It’s not unlike how we deciphered the sounds of our less cluttered, unplugged lifestyles before smart phones, tablets, pads, earbuds, and Bluetooth devices came in to play to bombard the airwaves of our already busy lives.
As I’ve written before on this blog, I like to think I am not naive to the numerous advantages of today’s Information Age. But, I would point out, do we ever consider the cost?
It’s true we can “google” something in the blink of an eye, and have access to information that would have taken minutes, even hours, to research in a library decades ago. But while we have tons of knowledge, we, conversely, have little discernment about what it all means.
In terms of communication, we can talk to, listen to, and even see people anytime, anywhere on our smart phones and other digital devices. It’s not unusual for me to receive an email from San Diego in the morning, and Beijing, China later in the day. I still revel at that technical advancement. That’s clearly part of the plus side.
On the other hand, does anyone else think it odd that a family of four can be seated in a living room with four distinct conversations going on? Allyson is texting Jamie about tomorrow’s volleyball practice. Jacob is jamming away to Bruno Mars, earbuds firmly in so the volume doesn’t bother anyone else in the room. Meanwhile, Mom is using an electronic calendar to plan out tomorrow’s to-do list. Finally, Dad is relaxing, reading the newest book from his favorite author he just downloaded onto his Kindle.
So what, you might say? Just family life in the 21st century, right? Perhaps, but when these scenes play out day after day, after day after day, after… Is this a good thing? Are four separate conversations, while perhaps unavoidable at times, supposed to be a technological “advancement” over Allyson telling her folks about her big practice tomorrow with the season’s biggest volleyball match just days away?
Or what would be wrong with Jacob excitedly telling his folks what his sister, Allyson, already knows, that Bruno Mars is the best musical entertainer since, well…. (You fill in the blank). Mom and Dad might not agree, but at least they would become aware of something going on in their son’s life – that being his love of music and his favorite artist in particular – as opposed to having no clue what he is listening to on those “buds” of his.
Or, as a friend of mine once told me with a very puzzled look on his face when he found out that I emailed my work colleague, Karen….“Doesn’t she sit right across from you?”
These are just a few of the many, many examples of the disconnections going on in today’s society – both at home, school, work, and everywhere in between. Several people can be engaged at a business conference or meeting, while scores of other colleagues are too busy scrolling through their smart phones to catch the latest news, posts, and updates, to notice what anyone is saying. Is this a technological “advancement”?