Monday, November 23, 2020

Phone Calls. Stimulation.

I thought the number of automatic calls was going to go down precipitously after the election.  In fact, I was counting on it. But we are in the open enrollment period for Medicare supplements, and one or both of us must be on a list of "old people - trick them with calls that look like they are from towns in their state." This is not tragic.  Sorry to burden you with the minor irritations of my life.

Since I have gone to full retirement it really is more boring.  I didn't realise how much I depended on those eight days a month for structure and stimulation. It is hard to imagine that I still have ten times the intellectual stimulation of previous eras. The records from such things as the constitutional convention and Sunday sermons, coupled with the actual texts of speeches and sermons delivered in many cases suggests that people spoke more slowly.  They did not flit from topic to topic as we do.  They might well have been wiser because of their sustained thought.  But they weren't likely "smarter" in our sense. People who grow up in cities are quicker and pick up on multiple signals at once. I don't say they are smarter. They might think so, on the basis of smarter people moving to cities since time immemorial because that's where the action is.  

Were we to time travel, we might find that we found folks slow and life not very interesting.  We might change our minds if we talked to them at length, but I am confident that would be our impression.


6 comments:

james said...

FWIW, I'm still getting an endless stream of urgent messages about my auto policy and my VISA, and every now and then still getting one of those Chinese language messages from Chicago. (I hear they're warning me about immigration, but it's all Greek to me.)

Looking at it from the other direction (do we ever do it any other way?) what would they think of us? Hyper? Despicably jaded?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

An excellent counter. People from other eras would consider us flighty and irritating. They might be right.

OTOH, it would not just be timed tests, but navigating the decisions of a difficult, ever-emerging world that would leave them behind. Our "slower" students might keep up just fine in the schools of 1700, and even their best students might find all the semiotics of signs in the city and multiple problems to be negotiated at our schools to be a lot to handle. Wisdom and depth of knowledge...well, that's a different issue.

james said...

There was a story of a man visiting New York (?), who told his host he heard a wren. She, hearing nothing but traffic noise, was incredulous--how could he hear anything in that racket? He took a quarter out of his pocket and dropped it, and heads turned across the street. Not sure if the story is true, but it illustrates the notion.

Even the notion that it's worth while to concentrate one's effort on this paper and pencil test needs to be learned.

There are subtleties in both directions. When one of my daughters studied in Senegal, she found that one never announced travel: you were vulnerable and someone might witch you. She never learned if fear of witchcraft were still the motive or it was simply the custom. A number of times she showed up to an empty classroom. No teacher--and somehow the African students had picked up the cue that there was no point in showing up next week. The Americans didn't.

Aggie said...

Program the numbers and names of everyone you know into your phone, it doesn't take long - including the tradesmen that get your custom.

I did this and now I only answer for calls with ID I recognize. The rest: I have found that if I answer and immediately hang up with no sound made, the spam calls fall off dramatically. Now I get only a few per week, where before it was quite a few per day.

Thinking it might be the demon-dialer software just kicking my number out, but who knows? They are looking for a response and with this, there is none - just a click of the exchange machinery disconnecting - eminently unproductive.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I like the hanging up strategy. It sounds satisfying, even if it doesn't work

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