In his 1993 book, Memories of Summer, Roger Kahn told of a speech given by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey to students at Brooklyn Technical High School during World War II:
“Undoubtedly, scientists will lead the years to come — young men very much like yourselves, indeed perhaps your very selves, will be the true rulers of society.” As Rickey spoke, he shook a glass jar containing raisins and nuts. The prop made no sense until Rickey reached his peroration.
“Those who succeed in baseball and in science will first be keen observers and, gentlemen, I hope you have been observing this little jar. Raisins and nuts, nuts and raisins. No matter how many times I shake this jar, as I trust you have observed and marked well for your future, the nuts always come out on top.”
In his 1999 essay, In The Beginning Was The Command Line, Neal Stephenson describes a moment on Main Street USA in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom:
“Directly in front of me was a man with a camcorder. It was one of the new breed of camcorders where instead of peering through a viewfinder you gaze at a flat-panel color screen about the size of a playing card, which televises live coverage of whatever the camcorder is seeing. He was holding the appliance close to his face, so that it obstructed his view. Rather than go see a real small town for free, he had paid money to see a pretend one, and rather than see it with the naked eye, he was watching it on television.”
Many people, aided by technology, are continually absent from their lives, choosing not to interact with the people and things around them because they are looking at a screen.
“Life is just better led when it is lived rather than viewed.” You don’t need a screen to see it. It’s directly in front of you.