A few days ago, I resolved to stop writing negative blog posts in favor of positive, spiritual ones. The number of the antichrist may be 666, but this evening for me it is 369. (I guess that means things are only going to get worse.) On a positive note, if you can call it that, I may have discovered a new psychological disorder: T.I.I. I challenge any cleric or religious to come up with a good Scriptural passage apropos to the problem at hand: technology-induced insanity.
When William Wordsworth wrote the famous lines, "the world is too much with us," he had no clue. None whatsoever. Whatever world was with Mr. Wordsworth in 1802 was a tiny grain of industrial grit compared to the massive dust storm of tech overload that is suffocating many of us today.
The photo I have posted above seems innocent enough, but it represents the hour and a half I spent on the phone with a technical support specialist in Boston this evening, trying to fix my Firefox browser, which mysteriously ceased to function after I tried to install and uninstall what was touted as an award-winning encrypted email system used by corporate clients and others in the know called PreVeil. After many valiant attempts at uninstalling their email system and reinstalling my browser, he seemed to have it fixed, but it failed again shortly after we hung up.
I spent the next hour and a half searching for and installing another highly recommended privacy-oriented browser, Epic. After I installed it, my computer prompted me to select apps to open automatically for various tasks. Seemed like a simple, routine process. When it came to choosing an app to manage my photos, however, the available selections weren't to my liking, so I opened the Microsoft Store app to choose a different one.
Obligingly the Microsoft Store app opened in another window with icons of all the photo apps one could choose from. I wasn't sure which one to get, so I began scrolling. And scrolling. And....and I nearly LOST it. To my increasing horror, there seemed to be no end to the cute little icons, and no way to discriminate between the good, the bad, and the hopelessly complex.
For a perfectionist like me, having too many choices means I can't select the most perfect one, and anxiety ensues. To regain a minor sense of control, I decided to count the apps so I could tell the world. My anxiety would serve a purpose. I went to the bottom of the page, relieved to find that there actually was one, and began counting as I scrolled my way back up. There were.... THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-NINE of the little beasts. Truly "The world is too much with us" no longer reflects with any real accuracy the current state of things. Rather, any poet worth his salt should now say, or perhaps even scream with eyes a-bulge, THE WORLD IS OUT TO DRIVE US INSANE.
In the end I chose Gimp, only because I remembered seeing it on a top-ten list of the best free photo software a couple of years ago. Most of the rest I had never even heard of. I chose Gimp somewhat unwillingly, because to me "gimp" is a negative word, implying something that limps along. God help me.
I suppose all this goes to show is that I am more human, flawed, and emotionally unstable than I care to admit. While I would have preferred to make this blog a fountain of living water in the deserts of modern life, and still intend to do so, apparently a large portion of my writing is something I need to do in order to vent. And while I would have preferred to swear off all technology and retreat to my little cottage in peace, I pigheadedly refuse to quit. Tidal waves of technology can carry off the most stalwart souls, but when used with prudence, it can reach millions. To quote our beloved Mother Angelica, the foundress of EWTN, the largest Catholic radio and t.v. enterprise on Earth, "We are all called to be great saints. Don't miss the opportunity!"
In the end, the new browser I downloaded is much more privacy-oriented than even Firefox was and comes with a cadre of helpful software like Dashlane to manage all your passwords (no more sticky notes!) Is there a cure for TII? Yes. 1) Landline phones; 2) real books; 3) real friends; and 4) God's creation. Thankfully, I have all four.
God bless you all, and illegitimi non corborundum!
The opinions expressed on this website are my own personal views and do not necessarily represent those of the Catholic Church.
If I have erred in any statement, whether directly or by implication, in any matter pertaining to faith or morals, I humbly invite fraternal correction.