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email Glenn

The Mantra of Sanity - "itsjustatool, itsjustatool, itsjustatool…"

I'm sitting at my home in Singapore; watching, living, learning.
Thankfully, while I work productively, the government protects me from evildoers. In the outside world, the Internet and its' use is debated. In Singapore, we get the nerfnet, spongy soft and safe!

Now, about the arguments:

On one side we've got the technogeeks telling us that the Internet will save the world. Everything will be better, faster, cleaner, smarter, er, er, er!
On the other side we've got the alarmists telling us that the Internet is the den of Satan. Wrap it up, put it in a box, throw away the key, and tell Pandora to stay the hell away!!

I've read the arguments in the news, I've seen them on TV, I've engaged in them at home and at work. Why, I wonder, does everyone overlook the obvious?

Glenns' Wonderings

It's Just a Tool.

Like a pen. Or a hammer.

Put a pen or a hammer in the hands of a man with a good heart, and you will end up with a thing of joy and beauty. Put a pen or a hammer in the hands of a man with a good mind, and you will end up a thing of utility. Put them in the hands of a man of conscience and you will end up with a troubled man, but then all men of conscience end up troubled, eventually.
Put the tools in the hands of a man who does not have heart, mind, or conscience, and you'll end up with trouble. We know this.

A pen will write a lie as easily as the truth. A hammer can take a life more easily than it can build a home. Do we outlaw these?

It's Just a Tool.

Not so long ago, music was my great passion. I spent my every waking moment listening to music, writing music, and performing music. I saw electronics changing the way we made music. Computers, samplers, and digital recorders all entered my life. I decided that I should control the tool, rather than letting the tools control me. I went to college to become an electronics engineer, a profession I've been in for the past ten years. Technology is a major part of my life, at work and at home. I make music using the latest tools, and these tools help me make my music better than ever. I still make the music. At work, my company makes cool machines that help other companies make cool machines to sell to you. Is this good or bad?

It's Just a Tool.

I have a lot of friends and co-workers who entered electronics or computer engineering out of a love for math or a love of 'progress'. They worry me as much as the alarmists. In fact, many of them become alarmists, as soon as they have children or a crisis. It's because they don't see these as tools. They see them as solutions or answers. When the answers fail, they panic. But there's no reason to panic.

It's Just a Tool.

You want to fix our problems? Build good hearts, good minds, a strong conscience. Teach the view of science and technology as tools, not solutions. Teach people how to use these tools, but don't expect the tools to teach values. The Internet won't teach values. Books don't teach values. TV doesn't teach values. They provide data. Good and bad appear with the same weight.

Only human contact teaches values. Love, fear, concern. Witnessing the impact of decisions on you or those around you. Don't wait for these tools to provide your god or love or whatever gives value to life. Seek it. As they say, "reach out and touch someone".

You can even use a tool to do it.

GH 11/97
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