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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Once upon a time, when one person wished to communicate feelings or news to another, it was necessary to compose the text, mold a clay tablet, and etch the words into the clay using a reed before it hardened. The very form of this sort of communication meant that selected messages were of great import to their authors. Clay tablets would never have inspired 3.2 billion users to receive and send thousands of mostly needless messages each day. That distinction goes to e-mail.
\ \ Thanks to e-mail, we live in an anxiety-ridden, reactive state, and rather than give each question the contemplation it deserves, we fire off a quick response. "Our minds, augmented now by the largest, most usable database in the world, are hampered in basic functions," Freeman writes. Virtual relationships, and the careless verbiage inherent in them, are speeding the decay of the very traits that comprise the best of humanity.
\ \ It's time, Freeman argues, to step back, and he's right. "The computer and e-mail were sold to us as tools of liberation, but they have actually inhibited our ability to conduct our lives mindfully," he declares. We need to meet in person, to talk, and to observe each other's gestures and facial expressions, because real friends and true relationships are in danger of following the clay tablet into the annals of history. Read Freeman's illuminating book and feel the shackles fall. \ (Holiday 2009 Selection)