It’s a new thing I’ve begun to notice. There are many recent articles about internet and gadget addiction. It seems to be a problem for many.
I think it does more than steal your vacation. It inhibits immersion. Travelling abroad brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages, yet technology appears to be making the disadvantages disappear. Or so it seems. The advantages of travelling abroad are experiencing new cultural artifacts and meeting a slew of new people. The disadvantages are lack of access to your old, comfortable way of doing things and familiar media.
It’s all choice. There may be uncontrollable urges, but we allow it to happen. There is something about a touch screen that triggers endorphins. I think it comes down to the same sort of satisfaction that comes from working with your hands. But the response is much quicker on the device. One touch and you see change. Carving takes a long time, chipping away what doesn’t belong slowly over many days. Our technology makes things easier and more accessible and now.
Incorporating the differences between the digital and tactile space illustrates an even greater disparity. Repairing mistakes in digital space is quick and easy, while in tactile space carving too much away can destroy the medium. Digital is very forgivable.
From a creative point of view, there’s talk of “the zone”. It’s that moment when one is completely at one with an artifact whether it be a book, a block of wood, or a device. Nothing else exists. It is true immersion and the highest form of single-mindedness, of schizophrenia. The trance-like state excludes everything else from existence.
Everybody appears to be talking about the benefits and shortcomings of technology. Of course there are plenty of arguments on both sides, there always will be. There are those early adopters that love the new and those that fight it tooth and nail. It isn’t just technology, the same arguments are seen in language (stop using that word), in politics (conservative vs. liberal), insert your favorite.
What does it all mean?
I don’t know.
The world we live in is a new place. We have not been here before. Sharing has become commonplace and results in fame. Favorites and likes define the world and the individual. Touch this and click that. Ubiquitous networks silently push reminders that prevent tactile immersion. Days and nights are filled with media designed from home.
Technology is like the city, a place where distinct cultures go to meet others and die, creating a hybridized new culture. It is awesome and terrifying all at once. It is natural and it is manufactured.
It is here.
It is not wrong. It is not right. It is.
I, like many others, am trying to carve my place in this new culture. I’ve decided to follow three conditions.
It means nothing and everything. But these three words will help me evaluate.