“I take walks in a federally protected wildlife preserve near my home in Massachusetts. A dirt trail winds for a mile around a lake teeming with beavers and fish, wild ducks and geese, aquatic frogs. Bulrushes and cattails wrap the perimeter of the pond, water lilies float here and there, rippling when a fish goes by. In the winter, the air is crisp and sharp, in the summer soft and aromatic. And a thick silence lies across the park, broken only by the honking of geese and the croaking of frogs. It is a place to smell, to see, to feel, to quietly let one’s mind wander where it wants.
More and more commonly, I see people here talking on their cell phones as they walk around the trail. Their attention is focused not on the scene in front of them, but on a disembodied voice coming from a small box. And they are disembodied themselves. Where are their minds and bodies? Certainly not present in the park. Nor can they be located in the electromagnetic waves and digital signals flowing through cyberspace. Only their voices can be found at the other end of their conversations, in the offices and boardrooms and homes of the people they are talking to. They are attempting to be several places at once, like quantum waves. But I would argue that they are nowhere.”