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Modern Life and Email

I have been ill for the last week with some kind of nasty lingering cold. Enough to slow one down and prevent the taking of vigorous exercise, but not enough to lay one down flat in bed.

But in line with general technological fatigue, I stopped checking email for all of three days. This afternoon I checked email again. Over three hundred pieces of spam (fortunately SpamAssassin and Eudora Spamwatch do a reasonably good job of keeping all the spam together in the junk folder). Another one hundred pieces of personal mail, professional newsletters. About twenty-five pieces of spam (those damn watch and pharmacy spams) managed to make it into my Inbox.

Some people talk about handling 200 pieces of personal/professional mail per day. Quite frankly, there is something wrong with this scenario. One needs downtime to think and to have one’s own thoughts. Just having a few days without email was such a joy. Imagine eagerly waiting for the post. Getting handwritten and personal letters of length and substance. Imagine settling into a good book.

After at least a year of checking email more or less every day, I don’t know why it finally bothers me so much.

I know the head of a major dance festival who doesn’t have a computer nor an email address. All of his lieutenants (about four) and their staff (another ten to fifty people depending on the season) do have email addresses. If it’s important enough the email gets printed and put on his desk.

I wonder what it would take for me to get there. Difficult considering I run a technology business. But it would be nice. Bravo, Karl!

I wonder how Casanova would have put up with the hundreds of emails and notes he would have received every day? Probably just not answer most of them. Not a bad idea.

Napoleon Hill at the end of his inappropriately titled mystical treatise Think and Grow Rich suggests a council of historical and imaginary figures as one’s personal think tanks. It isn’t quite clear if he really feels he is visited by these men (Emerson, Paine, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Burbank, Napoleon, Henry Ford and Carnegie) or if they are figments of his own imagination. What I can’t understand is that if one is going to have an imaginary council why choose such a collection of bores?

My method of addresssing the members of the imaginary cabinet would vary, according to the traits of character which I was for the moment most interested in acquiring. I studied the records of their lives with painstaking care. After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real.

Each of these men developed individual characteristics which surprised me….These meetings became so realistic that I became fearful of their consequences, and discontinued them for several months. The experiences were so uncanny, I was afraid if I continued them I would lost sight of the fact that the meetings were purely experiences of my imagination. [Ch. XIV, p. 197)

If it will help me tame the email problem, perhaps this imaginary council idea is not so bad

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