Why You Can't Just Let That Phone Keep Ringing

Ever try to sit there and ignore a ringing telephone…? Nine out of ten can’t. I’m one of the nine. Nietzsche offered us an explanation: “Humanity is afflicted with the yearning to know the unknown.” Personally, I like that. Gives my maddening curiosity a touch of class.

Lately the professorial minds have opined that our ringing Twitter and Facebook are doing wretched things to our beautiful minds. Too much input for any mind to authentically digest and use. They back it up with MRI evidence that’s impressed my mind, as it reels from its every hour every day assault of information. I mean, when’s the last time you walked Michigan Avenue in Chicago or Park Avenue in New York and saw more than nine people who WEREN’T staring down into their smart phones?

And yet.

That’s right, there’s no opinion you can slice so thin there’s only one side to it. The other side here is those psychologists who believe Twitter and Facebook sharpen our minds in this hardscrabble world. Quoting one: “Our air of self ignorance ends as all these posted likes, dislikes, and comments make us intensely aware of who we are and how our thoughts track with others….” I myself have been tersely “de-friended” four times and “f–k you” at least once!

I’m not sure if these have enlightened my self-understanding, but I certainly have discovered the dangers of the un-nuanced written word.

Right now my phone is ringing in the other room. At the same time, my copy of the New York Times sits here reporting there is an earth-like planet, Kepler-22b, located 600 light year away which could sustain human life. Am I curious about what’s out there…? Whether an advanced civilization exists there or has long ago died there…? Yes, yes, I am. But right now Nietzsche’s “yearning” has more to do with Joan’s phone call than any from an ET.

After all, a wife waiting in the rain is a far greater force than any creature from any Kepler-22b!

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