Obsession

June 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm (Blogging, Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today I’m here to discuss Obsession.

No, not the perfume or the movie,

but that preoccupation with a feeling or idea.

For I have been, over the last two weeks, preoccupied with the fact of my computer not working and how much this device has wormed its way into my daily life.

I need to blog. I need to read others’ blogs. My comics are mostly just on the web these days. The internet is my entertainment and my channel to what is happening in the world.

Newspapers and the TV no longer seem as current news-wise and being it is summer, there is nothing entertaining that I want to watch on TV.

I had no computer for two weeks, just two weeks. My computer caught a virus (got sick). I spent the first week trying to fix it myself. I thought I succeeded. I was able to blog, briefly, to let my readers know what was up. By week two, as my computer got overtaken by the evil, evil virus, I gave up and took the computer into the experts. It took them a week to solve the problem which made me feel less stupid then I had when I brought the computer in. I know I am not stupid but computer problems tend to make me feel stupid because my one and only computer teacher had not the patience to teach and explain so that I could understand. I am a slow learner – I need time to think and read before I do. I’m old enough to know how I learn things. I’m old enough to know that eventually I can solve the problem.

But, struggling with my computer’s virus made me feel poor and stupid. I felt poor because I just finished a job contract on June 1st and am currently unemployed. Spending money to fix my computer should not be a priority. But the reality of the situation is that my computer is not just a toy; it is my link to the world, it is how jobs are posted and therefore, my computer and internet connection are essential. This money needed to be spent.

But though I am now mostly middle-class, I grew up poor and internalized the belief that when one is not working money should not be spent on frivolities. Computers are toys. I don’t need one at home; there are other places to use them. Yes, there are. My second blog post, last week, was posted from the library.

But, but, but! The library only allows access for an hour a day which is just enough time to read emails, look for jobs and tend to the essentials.

I missed reading my blogs, my comics and writing my thoughts, here, on my own blog.

Oh no, was I addicted? Never. I am not my father.

But I worry. Do I have an addiction? Is there in my nature (my DNA) an addictive personality gene? I felt better this morning after I googled a few quizzes and the answers were always something like the following.

You seem to have a healthy balance in your life when it comes to the internet and life away from the computer. You know enough to do what you want online without looking like an idiot (most of the time).

And

Congratulations. You like the odd drink and you’re relaxed about other people’s preferences, even if you don’t share them. You have a healthy appetite for living life.

Whoa… I wipe the sweat from my brow and move on.

You’ll have to excuse me if I’m coming off as slightly paranoid here. When my computer was sick I spent the time reading. Up to now, if you’d have asked me if I was addicted to something, I would have said that my addiction is books. I read, on average, three books a week.

The last two weeks the books I’ve been reading keep coming back to how computers are changing and are been adapted to change us.

The Repairman Jack series (which I’ve been reading for over twenty years) deals with the Secret History of the World; a history of the world that remains undiscovered, unexplored, and unknown to most of humanity. Let’s just say that doesn’t mean rainbows and kitties and unicorns and leave it at that. I love these books, they’re part of my escape reading but they are dark and thought proving concerning what we, as people, are capable of.

The other book I was reading was Sherry Turkle’s sociological look at intelligent, companion computers, titled Alone Together.  She writes about how we are starting to view computers/things as sentient, as having feelings and opinions. Scroll above and look at how I write about my computer; it caught a virus (got sick), wormed its way into my life and got overtaken by the evil, evil virus. Computers are just bits and bytes, they can’t get sick and computer viruses can not, on their own, be evil. Can they?

I think too much. This is not always good.

But, it seems to me that if I am not addicted, I am definitely obsessed. Obsessed with computers and AI and with what we are creating here.

I watched 9 last night and did not enjoy it as much as Wall-E. Why? The conclusion I came to was that though 9 tried to give its creations (bizarre sock monkey puppet machines) souls, they failed. Watching this movie did not make me believe that these things, made of bits and bytes, could have souls. However, Wall-E and Eve and the computers they interacted with did feel like they had souls. I wonder why that is? I wonder if feeling that things, capable of movement and speech, can have souls is a move forward.

I think too much.

I am obsessed.

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4 Comments

  1. suzanne said,

    Your post certainly resonated with me. I often resist acquiring a new piece of technology, finally give in, and then discover I can’t live without it. I experienced this with my first VCR, my computer, my MP3 player . . . now I’m considering an e-reader.

    No worries about sentience though. They are just tools . . . for now. 🙂

    • solitaryspinster said,

      I’m also considering an e-reader but only because hardcover books are starting to feel too heavy the older I get.

      😉

  2. mysticaldodo said,

    I find that as I get older I find it tiring to look at the computer (or any glaring screen) all the time. I much prefer to read physical books 😉

  3. Kathy said,

    I think a lot of us could resonate with you about obsessions. When you look around the world, almost everybody is obsessed about something or other. Whether it’s TV or books or computers or sex or spirituality or trying to fix themselves or others… I am always pondering the line between obsession and passion. You never hear someone calling an author of 20 books obsessed. But how different is this author than someone who is passionate about blogging? It’s a fascinating subject…and you are not alone, dear blogging friend!

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