Uninterruptible Concentration and Why Donald Knuth Should be President
My latest mental mash-up is about email and the presidency. Donald Knuth does work that “takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration” and thus chose to no longer use email. Now, if the White House had the same policy, then the White House CIO would not need to claim “that email messages from 2003 to 2005 either can’t be produced because they’re not missing, because the computers they were on have been destroyed, or because it’s too hard to find them.” Not only are tax dollars spent on controversies such as this, but government officials are spending time writing and reading emails instead of focusing on the country’s needs with uninterruptible concentration.
I don’t know what Knuth’s politics are, but his books are brilliant and I appreciate his stance on email. I spend too much time every day on email and, even then, it’s never enough. (Am I the only one who has ever started off an email with “Sorry I didn’t respond sooner but…”?)
Instead of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage“, Knuth can institute a moratorium on email. Benjamin Franklin said, “Time is money“, and Knuth’s platform can be “Email is time”. “Time is the only thing we have in our lives” and through email we allow strangers to take it away from us and destroy our concentration. How is this any different than a phone call from a telemarketer interrupting dinner (before the do not call registry)?