Sunday, 26 June 2011

Lost & Found

It's a funny thing - three times in the last week I have mislaid something only to find it again. First was in Yorkshire - I lost my favourite hat somewhere between Halifax and Bradford but managed to find it the next day at Halifax station. Second: Four days ago I thought I'd lost my driving license, but it turned out that I had simply not brought it out with me (having meant to). And today I found £15 in a shirt pocket (which I did not realise I had lost). When I went out this night I couldn't find the said money. When I got home I found it neatly strewn on my bed.

One thing I have lost and will not get back are 188 facebook friends. I decided to reduce my friend list from the proposterous 230 to a real, managable amount of people (42) I actually know and like and voluntarily communicate with on a regular basis, or would wish to. Some are family members who never actually use facebook but with whom there is no real need for removing. As for the others? Well, I'm more than content waiting 20 years till the school reunion. Only then will it be really fair to say who is doing what with their lives. A friend and I have a running joke that a lot of people from school aren't actually doing anything - they haven't formed any life plans and have no serious ambitions or interests other than hanging around 'being awesome'. But I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life until around six months ago and had some good luck along the way, so I shall reserve any concrete judgement for 2031.

But there is also a broader reason for my curbing my 'online friends' so. I am increasingly demanding a more subtle life for myself, one with a greater degree of self-discipline, open-mindedness and unlaboured extroversion: facebook hinders all three of these things. My keeping up of a facebook account is now for practical purposes only (I genuinly keep in contact and organize things with people from it, both local and distant). In general I would like to see the computer and the internet as tools which facilitate my to do things I need to do and want to do e.g. work activities, communications, research and (as now) writing. These are specific activities. What I do not want is for the computer itself to become an activity, a sort of default spare-time activity, the first item to consult when ennui strikes. I got rid of my TV back in the winter in a similar vein. I'm not anti-technology in the slightest, but it is up to the technology user to decide what his relationship with the technologies should be.

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