Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers


Is This Our Brave New World?

Okay, I know I’m not the only one who can’t keep her hands off her cell phone and computer. When it isn’t convenient to have my laptop in hand, then I turn to my phone to check email, the weather, the latest news, and more. Thankfully, I don’t text much or that would be another reason to keep it close.

Otherwise, I’m married to my computer, which is no surprise to my husband. Much of my world resides there, including the teaching I do for the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute—all the interaction with my students and responses to their assignments that I do via voice recordings. Of course, the recordings must be emailed to them. And then there is my own writing, my teaching files and apps, not to mention sorting through the many emails generated each day in my personal and professional lives.

Have a question that I don’t want to take time to look up myself? Google it. Go to Delphi. See what the Internet gods and goddesses have to say.

Need to make a reservation? Go online.

Want a recipe and don’t feel like checking all my cookbooks for one? You’ve got it. Google is my god of choice.

Need new shoes? Shop online.

What did I do before computers and cell phones dominated? It’s hard to remember, but clearly, I spent more time in libraries and shopping at real stores, not these digital ones. I used my landline more frequently. I talked to friends on the phone instead of by email. Now it’s inconceivable to spend a day without accessing one of these devises, even though I meditate regularly. Meditation may help me stay in the moment, but it doesn’t cause me to drop my dependence on the technological world. If anything, it just makes me more focused on whatever I’m using at the time!

I don’t have any answers for how to avoid this brave new world. It’s impossible to disentangle myself from the web I’m now part of, and I don’t know what that means for my future self. Will I eventually be transformed into a droid?

As we head into this new year—2022—still immersed in the Covid nightmare, we may wish we were droids so we could stop worrying about getting infected with the dreaded virus. Or maybe that’s Covid’s final purpose: to so transform us that we’ll all resemble droids!

4 thoughts on “Is This Our Brave New World?

  1. You hit a nerve with this post! I remember reading that Virginia Woolf rose early every morning and for the first three of four hours wrote letters to friends and fellow writers. The letters ranged from twenty to thirty handwritten pages each. That’s impressive, but your output as you describe it is impressive as well. I think our technology has not stopped our output but it does take up a good deal of our free time, i.e., the time to simply sit outside beneath the trees and chat with folks or with our own thoughts. We experience information overload and freeze up. I think it is harder for us in the millenneum to manage our time effectively. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job, and the good news is you are aware of the possible problems!


    Why try to avoid this brave new world? The pandemic would have been so much worse if we hadn’t had the ability to work or socialise via internet technology. The world has always moved forward with new inventions. Can you imagine being a 19th century author without the ability to cut, paste and change their writing as we can do now. They managed, but I’d be interested to see their reaction if shown a laptop and the advantages that go with it. Don’t fight it, but embrace those parts of our technology that work for you.

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