Heraclitus On The Smart Phone

nullnullAn article in the Tribune Sunday magazine tells us to "Ditch these 10 devices in 2012".    Its author, Deborah Netburn, (whose surname nicely dovetails with the topic) refers to her list as 'obsolete technology'.  Here are the ten devices: (1) The Flip-cam ; (2) The portable DVD player'; (3) Flash-drives; (4) GPS devices for your car; (5) The small digital camera; (6) The fax machine; (7) Netbooks; (8) CD player; (9) Voice recorders; (10) PDA.   The smart phone, the tablet, and cloud computing, it seems, have either replaced a device or made it eminently expendable.

The great Neo-Classical English poet Alexander Pope once said, "Be not the first by whom the new are tried/Nor yet the last to lay the old aside".    Regrettably,  I haven't even tried most of these obsolete devices, let alone laid them aside.   An object lesson of the whirlwind of  change that is occurring  in our Information Age.

In the infancy of Western philosophy,  the Greeks speculated about what the substratum of  reality was.  Some thought it was air; others fire.  Heraclitus thought that at  the core of phenomena was flux or change. . "No man ever steps in the same river twice' was one of his famous dictums. If the so-called "Weeping Philosopher" were alive today,  he would tearfully  add  "Or uses the same technology for long."


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