From the Roman Empire to the BlackBerry jam…In Roman times, there was the rise of written communication that became a huge part of the everyday lives of literate Romans… but "Elite, literate Romans were discovering the great paradox of information: the more of it that’s available, the harder it is to be truly knowledgeable. It was impossible to process it all in a thoughtful way." People", Seneca the Roman philosopher observed, grazed and skimmed, absorbing information "in the mere passing."
It’s high summer and we’re all out there seeing each other. We’re not hidden away in our homes and offices as we are in winter’s cold. We’re part of a crowd—on the street, in the park, on the boardwalk, on the top deck of the ferry to Saltaire. And we can see in some new or clearer ways how technology is changing us. For one thing, it is changing our posture. People who used to walk along the avenues of New York staring alertly ahead, or looking up, now walk along with their heads down, shoulders slumped, checking their email and text messages. They’re not watching where they’re going, and frequently bump into each other. I’m told this is called a BlackBerry jam.
By Peggy Noonan, August 20, 2010 WSJ oped