Priorities

by Volker Weber

Howard Rheingold reports on the selective use of technology by the Amish of Pennsylvania. Very interesting reading, because it gives you a sense of how often we use technology without thinking of the consequences. I have one particular friend that is really hard to talk to because he is constantly interrupted by the technology around him, be it a ringing cell phone or something he reads on his notebook, while smoking a cigarette and ordering something to drink. This leads to extremely short attention spans and puts you into a constant pressure to perform. I have jokingly called him on his cellphone while sitting across from the table in an effort to silence the pacifier:

... what does one's use of a tool say to other people, particularly loved ones, about where they stand in our priorities? In my own house, we decided to get a rollover to voicemail instead of call waiting - experiences on the receiving end of call waiting convinced us that both parties on the other end of the line get pissed off when you interrupt the conversation. No matter how absorbing the flame war of the moment might be, I make a point of suspending online communication when someone in my presence attempts to talk with me. And I've come to believe that face-to-face conversation should outrank disembodied conversation via cell phone or email.

Very often I ignore a phone ringing because I am currently occupied by something else. The same holds true for instant messages. They have lower priorities than face to face communications at all times. Please be patient with me. Sometimes you need to let the phone ring at least 10 times to get me. ;-)

Comments

can't remeber where, but there was a survey, where they revealed, that germans tend to interrupt sex because of a phone call three times more often than italians. LOL

Nils K. Windisch, 2005-07-10

Thich Nat Han has a different suggestion to deal with a ringing phone:
Take it as a bell to call to medidation, breath in and out 3 times and when you are ready yoou pick up the phone and are 100% present for the caller.
Of course: you can do that only if you don't do something else, so a face-2-face communication rules out that you would pickup the phone.
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2005-07-10

phones somehow 'won' the right to interrupt face to face at some point in the past - it has always annoyed me.

glad to see there are people of like minds out there!!

Simon Barratt, 2005-07-12

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