People Who Love Their Computers Too Much

August 2002
by Reid Goldsborough

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Joe, a computer programmer, is talking with his psychotherapist. “You’ve got to help me,” he says. “I’ve fallen in love with my computer, but I know I can never marry her.””Well, it’s good you haven’t totally lost touch with reality,” notes the therapist.

“Oh, it could never work,” Joe replies. “She wants a career.”
It’s easy to make fun of computer nerds, as did this joke from The Official Computer Freaks Joke Book. But–as can happen with anything taken to an extreme–fascination with computers can be harmful.

The Beloved’s Best Qualities

It’s not difficult to see why computers can fascinate. They allow you to communicate with far more people than a phone or letter. They help you write far more efficiently than a typewriter or pen and paper. They make it possible to keep track of people and things far more easily than a roster or list. They let you budget, forecast, and plan far more effectively than a calculator or table. And they make education far more compelling than words and pictures on paper.

Computers are indeed powerful, and their power can let people compensate for their own perceived lack of power. In today’s world of huge corporate, educational, and government bureaucracies, it’s easy for individuals to feel lost, like a tiny cog in a giant impersonal wheel that spins with no interest or concern about their welfare.
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