I tivoed a cat.
A real cat.
I was switching back and forth between the baseball playoffs and the Packers game – employing my DVR to maximum effect – pausing, rewinding, and watching fabulously athletic plays over and over again when suddenly, outside my window, this squirrel blasted past – skidding and sliding and struggling to maintain its footing – a big orange Tabby cat hot on its heels. The squirrel ran under a side table and the cat, attempting to overtake the squirrel, leapt into the air and over the table. As it did so, I pointed my remote at the cat and, mid-jump, pressed Pause, expecting the scene to freeze so I could rewind to the beginning and start over.
It didn’t work.
The squirrel and cat raced on and under a hedge.
My first reaction was to laugh. I’d become so consumed by technology that, for a second, I believed I could control not only my television set, but the entire universe as well. I was a god!
But then I started to worry. I’d been the victim of a bad case of information overload. DVR-ticulitis to be precise. Technology was now so all-encompassing that I’d lost all touch with reality.
Which got me wondering about the long-term effects of all this stuff on my brain.
An article in The Guardian said that when we think we’re multitasking, we’re really not. We’re simply shifting from task to task really fast like “bad amateur plate spinners,” increasing stress hormones and burning up energy in the process.
Which really got me wondering about the long-term effects of all this stuff on my brain.
Maybe my brain has the capacity to expand? Not in size so much as in its ability to form fresh pathways and connectors to help me successfully handle the added strain. Maybe this will help me as I age, making my circuitry more nimble and adaptable.
But what if that’s not what happens?
What if, instead, all this overstimulation stretches the existing apparatus so severely that it starts to sag like a limp soba noodle?
Maybe the effect is more like a rubber band that gets pulled and pulled until cracks form and the whole thing snaps?
Are our brains wired to handle this? How can we really know?
It’s not like there haven’t been huge technological advances in the past. But those advances were introduced far more slowly. The gaps between radio, television, and the VCR were quite large. They were generational. They fell more in line with the natural cycles of human evolution.
But the gap between present day technologies has become so slight.
With the constant introduction of new devices, and the zillions of upgrades to each device, there no longer seems to be room for us to properly adapt. We live too long. To adapt appropriately, our lifespan would need to be more in line with that of a bed bug’s.
I know I sound like an old goat.
I really don’t mean to.
I’m all for the advancement of technology, I swear.
But innovation nowadays is rocketing ahead at such a dizzying pace that the divide between the real world and the machine world has become so razor thin that it almost threatens to disappear.
And if you beg to differ, allow me to repeat myself:
I TIVOED A FUCKING CAT!