Well, it’s been a week, and the experiment is over. Unfortunately, I had to use IM for a couple of hours yesterday to firm up plans to head to Boston with a friend who was unavailable by telephone (thanks a lot, Billy!). At any rate, the point of the experiment was still made. The verdict? IM: you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.
I can’t see myself doing without IM entirely, as it would wreck what bit of a social life I do have. At the same time, I’m going to be much more conscious about when and how I plan to use IM when I log on, and will probably limit it to a few hours each day, and then turn it off. As with many things, moderation is key.
The Boston event I referred to above involved attending a talk given by Noam Chomsky. It was an interesting overview of the state of populist movements in Latin America, and a striking contrast to what we consider political issues in the U.S. In places such as Bolivia, elections were over issues such as local control of natural resources, particularly land and water rights, and the human rights of indigenous people. A person like Evo Morales wouldn’t have a chance in a U.S. presidential election today, where our last White House race consisted of two people who attended the same ivy league school, were members of the same Skull and Bones elite society, and who were funded by incredibly concentrated, private interests. Most Latin American countries face difficult challenges because foreign investment is so deep – unlike East Asia, where strong internal investment helps to prevent these countries’ political systems from being manipulated so thoroughly by foreign countries. It was a thought-provoking lecture on issues I was very unaware of.