The phone engineer called to give us the good news that our internet and phone connections are working again. His version is that “an underground connection was cut,” trying, I think, to give us the impression that some wire had been cut by some passing machinery. I think, myself, that the engineer accidentally disconnected our wire in the box when they were working there last Saturday.
In any case, to my surprise, four days of cyber-silence was actually quite refreshing. I spent my extra time reading Jared Diamond’s latest book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? and have been totally fascinated. I’ve thought for years that Guns, Germs & Steel was one of the best books I’ve ever read, but this one is possibly even better.
Just as the world today is re-discovering that other living species (probably all living species) have intelligence that in the situations in which they are surviving often outstrips human intelligence, we’re learning the same thing about those humans who live in a “primitive world” so different from ours. We’d be as lost in their worlds as they are in ours. The irony is that when the world changes, we not only gain knowledge and skills, but we also lose. I read the other day that many young people in the modern world today don’t know how to tie knots. Or their home telephone numbers — because it’s stored for them in their i-phones.
And I’ve also discovered that I overwhelmingly prefer to read a book in hard copy than to read an e-book on my Kindle. I find it physically much less tiring and I can concentrate more easily. I have no theory to explain this. Is it simply a question of the world of books in which I was originally socialized? Or do the two different mediums filter through the brain differently?