Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The GPS Effect

I have a TomTom GPS device. I use it all the time, even when I go places to which I know the direction.

I have a long commute to work, about forty minutes, and the first few times I used my TomTom to get where I needed to go. I used it for a crutch after that because I wanted to know exactly how much time I had to stop at a gas station, because TomTom can be programmed to calculate the desired time of arrival, then tell you your window of time as you travel.

During the trip, TomTom would interrupt me when I was going too fast, or tell me I was within a few miles of the exit or I needed to take. Knowing this, I was able to think more thoroughly about other things as I drove, knowing that I would be interrupted at appropriate times.

Very quickly the commute seemed much shorter and actually more enjoyable, to the point where I was intrigued by the effect it had on my perception of time's passage.

Thinking about this I was reminded of my studies, my accidental college library adventure, stumbling upon the subjects of reality construction, cognitive dissonance theory, and operant conditioning. This effect was a perfect example of how sometimes we allow ourselves to be molded into a routine to such a degree that we don't see the things around us that affect our lives, especially to the point of the economic collapse we face today.

I think my GPS allowed me the freedom to consider what was happening to our minds. Would most people experience the same results? Would such a concept be replaced by thoughts of celebrities or sports instead, brain candy for the masses?

Does the Matrix have you?

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