News and Tribune


March 4, 2013

CUMMINS: Separate your inner life from the outer one

People, some desperate, stop me on busy streets and ask, “How does one live a simple life?”  Modern life is like you’re walking in tight shoes or swimming in a whirlpool. Both your feet and head hurt. But as you search for simplicity within a tattered world, you should eliminate that which impairs peace of mind. Ignore the meteorites whizzing by you, accept the possibility that your hamburger is part horsemeat and realize your government remains perpetually sequestered in toxic waste.

Life was simple until the fertilization of the wasteland in Silicon Valley. First, it was the numbers on the little pieces of plastic. Computers made it easy to send those numbers to capitalistic institutions, which put you deeper in debt. As you dug out, Silicon came to your rescue again. They devised a system of passwords for your security, which unlocked closed doors for you. Success is memorizing numbers and passwords. Heaven is the only institution not requiring a password. Entrance there requires living a good and simple life.

Then when the magic-wand smartphone came along, it answered many other calls ringing, not at you, but for you. Despite interrupting church services and committee meetings, this ringing alerts you to possible pitfalls looming everywhere.

A recent article in the “The Wall Street Journal,” asks, “Is Smart Making Us Dumb?” It explains that the revolution in technology allows previously inanimate objects to talk back to us and even guide our behavior.  Here’s the good news: “Silicon Valley sees ‘smart’ objects not just as products, but as a way to ‘fix’ individual’s behavior in a broken world.” It makes sense. If you are broke, do you accumulate dumb objects? What was it that broke the world in the first place? We know what broke Washington — debt ceilings and inanimate sub-human objects.

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