My column Sunday on the doom of uncertainty in an age of on-the-go information is sparking some illuminating feedback. Reader Kevin Astle emailed me with this observation, which I have to share (with his permission, of course).
I have to agree with Kevin. The glow of a smartphone never looks quite right next to the glow of a crowded hearth.
I enjoyed your article this morning. It struck a chord with me. I am a mid- forties carpenter, husband , father who uses a smartphone daily for work and entertainment. For years I have met up with my friends for beers, a nosh and conversation around a end of week fire pit or local watering hole. With disparate backgrounds, and random strong opinions, the countless lively discussions have ranged from politics, physics, fishing, construction, education, parenting, sports, travel, etc. Over the past few years the glow of the fire pit has diminished with increasing glow of the ever present smartphones. I must say I started to miss the “I don’t know” discussions that quickly used to evolve into conjecture and b.s. bringing out the best public speaking and humor out of all types of folks. As with most of the new conveniences, the initial fascination has faded as the know it all “exterior brain” has become more pervasive. I have noticed recently in myself and others the tendency to mention during these discussions that one could “look it up” but to instead soldier on leaving all screens dark and faces turned only to fire and friends. Sometimes being accurate is less important than being social.