Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wants and Needs

In my day job, I work for a high-tech company, writing about breakthroughs that I try to describe in terms that even I can understand. Hey, I studied journalism in school, not science, so I try to keep it simple. I have to.

The truth is, I admire engineers, scientists, technologist. They impress me not only with their brains but with their hearts.

What motivates them more than anything is a desire to change the world. They spend their time finding ways to do things like, oh, help cancer researchers run simulations 50 times faster. What's more, they refuse to accept the notion that something can't be done simply because other smart people tried and failed.

In short, they're inspiring. There doesn't seem to be any limit to what they can do if they set their minds to it. Yet the best technologists I know think very seriously about the implications of what they're doing.

Most of us don't even do that much.

Which is why I was glad to see Fast Company's "E-Tool Bill of Rights," designed to reset expectations and redraw boundaries that technology tends to erase.

We should never forget that technology is made for us and not the other way around. But it goes beyond that.

Too often, I think, we let the things we want pull us away from the things we need. What we want may be a raise, a promotion, a new car, or a cure for cancer. Good things. But in their pursuit, we've become too busy to eat right, too wound up to sleep at night, too tired to exercise.

In short, we need to take better care of ourselves.

Life is precious.

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