Last of a Dying Breed

December 11, 2006

Wired has an interesting column by Tony Long, who writes about a friend of his who died recently. Although Long’s friend eschewed pretty well most technologies, he lived a rich and full life with diverse interests. Of course, as Long points out, his friend probably did quite a lot because he stayed away from technology.

What caught my attention was Long’s description of his friend as a “Renaissance Man,” which is especially rare in an age where “specialists” are highly valued. I consider myself as having such leanings, because I like to understand things holistically. However, unlike Long’s friend, I do not steer clear of technology. I also do not blame technology itself for the decline in the number of people with diverse interests and dabblings. Such ideas seem hyperbolic, and they do not address the deeper issues involving our interactions with technology. In an article for First Monday entitled “More, Faster, Better: Governance in an Age of Overload, Busyness, and Speed,” David Levy eloquently discusses some of the relevant complexities. I actually saw him speak this summer on the same topic, and I found his insights on technology quite fascinating and level-headed.

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