Thursday, December 28, 2006

Alas, Poor Yorick!

"Shakespeare jokes for the easily confused."

A few months ago, I complained about how there are cyborgs already here: people who never put their portable electronic devices away. (I thought about linking to it, but decided against it, because it's embarrassing. Go find it yourself if you care that much; it's not all that impressive.) Why this annoys me, I'm not sure, but it does. Mostly on principle. The idea that humans ought not to spend all their time with machines, get some fresh air, that sort of thing. Not that I ever do that, of course, but it's a matter of principle. That's supposed to be hypocritical.

It's something I worry about. I still don't own a cell phone. I had one, which I lost, and I haven't gotten another one; partially out of apathy, partially out of worrying. I like technology, but I worry about it. I worry about spending too much time with it, on the computer, on the internet, and not enough on "important things." Things that will last.

I worry about mortality. I've been thinking, lately, about how finite time is. How it's always counts down. Quasi-existential nonsense, mostly. I hate making decisions, and it's partially because of the worrying about time. You can never really undo a decision. Even the decision not to make a decision. Every action is permanent.

So I worry that I'm losing time. Losing time to computers, video games, web surfing, television. I don't have that worry about reading, because that, I feel, is not just "recreation." It's also a means to an end. Writing well myself. I don't feel that way about movies (usually) because again, its a means to an end. Studying the craft of storytelling. (Which causes its own problems. I have a hard time just watching movies. I'm constantly analyzing the structure. Which has certain advantages, but it's also distracting.) I do feel that way about television--that it's useless, a waste of time. That's why I don't watch it. Except that I don't feel like Firefly is a waste of time, because its "good."

So where's the line? Is the distinction I make between "frivolity" and "seriousness" in media real, or is it me internalizing useless cultural value judgments? Is it useful? Do I really have to worry about how I spend every minute of my time, and how it's going to affect the world after I'm dead?

I think there's something wrong with me. I'm seventeen, and I'm worrying about my legacy.

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