Beach Reading

I don’t have anywhere near as much time to read for pleasure as I would like – except when I am at the beach. You can get through a lot of pages in those daily 12 hours.

When I am on vacation I usually get to the beach (weather permitting) just after 6 a.m. I am an early riser no matter where I am. I usually stay on the beach until sometime after 7 p.m., taking short breaks for obvious reasons. If I am not in the ocean I am reading.IMG_2783

Usually I read novels, primarily mysteries, a nice way to de-stress and get lost in another world. I do try to balance that with some non-fiction, usually biographies, so that not everything I read is mindless entertainment. The local library allows me to take books out for a small fee, and there is a much smaller waiting list for bestsellers than in Ottawa.

Sometimes though the mindless reading is less than mindless. Yesterday I was reading Daniel Silva’s novel The Heist and came across this:

It seems difficult to imagine, but there was once a time when human beings did not feel the need to share their every waking moment with hundreds of millions, even billions, of complete and utter strangers. Id one went to a shopping mall to purchase an article of clothing, one did not post minute-by-minute details on a social networking site; and if one made a fool of oneself at a party, one did not leave a photographic record of the sorry episode in a digital scrapbook that would survive for all eternity. But now, in the era of loss of inhibition, it seemed no detail of life was too mundane or humiliating to share. In the online age, it was more important to live out loud than to live with dignity. Internet followers were more treasured than flesh-and-blood friends, for they held the illusive promise of celebrity, even immortality. Were Descartes alive today, he might have written: I tweet, therefore I am.

I wish I had written those lines. I have expressed similar sentiments in conversations with friends and acquaintances when discussing the impact of technology on society and the loss of real community. Maybe we can have a discussion here from time to time on the subject, though it does seem like a strange forum for such a discussion.

As for me, I opened a Twitter account a few years ago, to use for business not to update people on what I had for lunch. I keep forgetting about it, which means all that is usually in y twitter feed is this blog which gets posted automatically. If I forget to tweet, does that mean I am not?

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6 comments

  1. Good point – I don’t have that woman’s perspective.

  2. I considered posting something a blogger sent me:

    For those of my generation who do not and cannot comprehend why Facebook exists:
    I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles. Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passersby what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later, and with whom.

    I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.

    I also listen to their conversations, give them the “thumbs up” and tell them I like them.

    And it works just like Facebook. I already have four people following me:
    two police officers, a private investigator, and a psychiatrist.

    1. So true. I received a Facebook friend request this week from some guy who is a sheet metal worker in New Orleans. We have no friends in common, I have never been there, he doesn’t follow the blog and I have no idea how he found me on FB because my privacy settings are very restrictive. I can’t decide whether to just ignore him or send him a message asking how he knows me.

      1. I’d ignore. Not a safe world. Esp for women.

  3. Feeling a little bit insignificant, I decided to assert my identity by replying to this post. 😉
    Reminds me of lyrics from Creed “…waiting by the phone…to remind me I’m still here”
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/creed/insideusall.html

    Not surprising that an artist (in this case an author) would muse on this topic. There are plenty of analyses about social media. On the downside, people tend to read postings by those of similar mind (but isn’t that the same thought-groupings as those who watch Fox News or read Naomi Klein?) Also, I use social media once a week, but read that users of social media have less self-esteem. That creates anxiety…how many times did I log on last week? funny.

    On the upside, it maintains a sense of community. The psychologist Rollo May in his book the Meaning of Anxiety concluded two things may curb anxiety: a sense of community and a sense of relationship with God. Social media offers the first, but I’ve met a lot of New Atheists who are online so perhaps lowers the second. Also on the upside, bullying is recorded so punishments may be applied (although this gets into freedom-of-speech issues). Finally, in terms of democracy, people can talk all they want to others about common events. Perhaps in a silly, individualistic way, but it increases communication.

    1. You’ll have to work hard to convince me that social media maintains a sense of community. I would argue that it does the opposite. We click “like” and think we have actually connected with someone. We have a thousand “friends” but no-one to go for coffee with. It seems rather superficial.

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