Surveillance capitalism creeps me out.
I don’t control my lights, door locks, or anything else by speaking commands to my 1st-generation Amazon Echo. Indeed, I shut the microphone off about a year ago and I only use it like a table radio — direct streaming or bluetooth from my phone — and controlled from the Alexa app on my phone, not by voice.
When Echo dies, it will either not be replaced or will be replaced with a streaming radio with better sound quality (though Echo isn’t too bad). And no voice control.
There is no way I’m going to wear a pair of Alexa-powered Bose earphones, wandering around in “public” but in my own little world inside my head, isolated from the world except for asking it “how do I get shiny hair?” when I see a slick Afghan Hound.
Nor Echo frames.
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I’m partial to the hypothesis that living in unreality (in which I’d include virtual reality) creates ennui.
I noticed recently, though, that most articles of the “digital detox” genre are focused on productivity, not on humanity let alone holiness. I’m told that Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism is different. I hope so, because after I catch up on a little backlog of magazines, it’s my next book (on Kindle, of course — so sue me).
Indeed, much of my reading lately seems to evoke gentle regrets: “Gosh, I could have lived this better way if only I’d been wiser.” There’s a reason for the saying “Too soon old, too late smart.”
Notice I said “gentle,” not “bitter.”
A magazine that frequently gives me gentle regrets is Plough, from the Bruderhof community. I think Mother Jones and my secular “alternate lifestyle” magazines will be going unrenewed, Plough renewed.
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Meanwhile, I’ve taken a deep breath, installed Freedom, and instructed it to help my self-control by cutting me off from the internet and from various apps at times of day when I am resolving to do something other than sitting on my arse with a computer on my lap.
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I had an Impossible Burger once. It was surprisingly burgerlike.
But Michael Pollan says “if it comes from a plant, it’s food; if it’s made in a plant, it’s not food.” Heck, you don’t even save calories and fat grams with Impossible Burger. If I want burger taste, I’ll buy a burger.
Except maybe when I’m dying for meat in Lent. Once or twice, tops. I think it was Lent 2019 when I tried one.
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Did I mention that I came of age in the 60s? And was an Audio-Visual Dept. geek?
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I just saw San Francisco 49er defender #2 helping a Green Bay Packer runner to land on his back rather than the top of his helmet when undercut by San Francisco 49er defender #1.
There is magnanimity in the world. Especially from teams that are up 20-0 in the first half.
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All Christian readers could benefit from listening to the podcast The Struggle Against the Normal Life. It’s a short (11:05) detox for our toxic faux Christian environment.