In the past few weeks, my daughter’s class has been studying religions of the world. They’ve been visiting a synagogue, a mosque and several churches. For her homework, she had to find out and list the Ten Commandments.
I thought I should help her. But not in the way she expected.
My daughter naturally wanted to jump onto the computer and google it. But I suggested we go down to the local library instead. Fortunately, it was near my office and so we strolled there.
In the reference library, I showed my daughter how to locate books on different subjects and we got out several tomes. We sat down in a different environment, surrounded by books and other people and searched through the contents and indexes of each book. We read all kinds of interesting stuff. Finally, we got what we wanted and photocopied the information.
The entire process took more than an hour.
Later, I goggled it. It took 30 seconds.
Although it took so much longer and required a lot more effort, I was confident that going to the library was the better thing to do.
This was because we got out. We saw other people in the street and in the library: a man in a wheelchair, a helpful librarian, folk reading magazines. Although we didn’t speak to anyone, we interacted with them: a nod, a smile, and people saw us too. We were out there in the community.
It’s a pity that our computers have taken us away from other people. These machines have chained us to our desks.
Perhaps the First Commandment should be:
Thou shall not be seduced by your machine
I’m going to stop typing this second and head out there into the world.
If you could get off your computer now, where would you go?