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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

‘Nature And Technology Need Not Be Kept At A Distance’


Here’s the scenario — you’re on a hike in the wilderness, a mountain or remote beach, and you run into that person — the one who’s staring down at a smart phone, sending tweets and listening to music.

Author Walter Kirn says he is that guy, and he understands the reactions of horror and disgust he gets, because he knows that for most of his fellow Montanans there is a sacred and inviolable boundary between the outdoors and electronic communications.

But in a recent piece in Outside Magazine, Kirn argues that technology can enhance your wilderness experience, just like a cold coca cola can enhance your experience on the beach. “Nature and technology need not be kept at a distance,” he writes.

“What is this religion of the outdoors that requires it to be like a church?” Kirn said to Here and Now‘s Robin Young. “Nature does not just exist for us to forget, as a kind of spa. We have a legitimate reason to be there, and when technology allows us to be there, we should thank it for its welcome, not worry if we have broken some puritanical rule.”


  • Walter Kirn, novelist and essayist

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