It’s Either a One or a Zero

Nowadays, we seem to forget that we have the power to turn it off.

I remember seeing a film at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center years ago with the performance artist Laurie Anderson. I love her stuff, generally—funny, intelligent, thought-provoking. Pretty much the way I like my people.

In part of her piece for the film, she figured out how to get the sound equipment for a drum kit between her teeth which allowed her to accompany herself with percussion. She remarked that in all things digital, what we are actually using are bazillions of ones and zeros, one being equal to on and zero being equal to off.

We are either off or on.

Like these light switches, one off, one on.

I try to remember that whenever I feel frazzled, when too many things are competing for my attention at the same time. No matter what the great gurus of multi-tasking try to get you to believe, you’re only going to get a certain number of tasks accomplished in a day (generally six, max), and only one of them at a time.

Yeah, it’s true that you can put a pot of chili on the stove to cook while you’re writing a blog. But once you turn the stove on, your part of the task is pretty much done.

One thing at a time.

And the power to turn things off.

I do that with the radio, the news, the urgency to GET IT DONE NOW.

Really, this creating-the-world thing is ours to control. The sad bit in all of this is that we too often choose not to.


Be grateful you can turn it off.

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