This piece is devoted to things of a slower nature — a less frenetic pace, analogue speed — as opposed to keeping up with the plethora of new, digital interfaces when I’ve yet to master the analogue ones I was born with.
Engineers say that, for all our amazing technological achievements, we’ve only just begun. It’s hard–and a bit tedious–to critique these breathtaking advancements; they’re coming so fast and furious, who has the time to stop and think? That time is taken up with learning new digital skills and platforms just to keep up, all under a cloud of looming cyber-security issues and privacy woes.
The technological race for convenient data sharing has a powerful inertia akin to a stampede; this process has ethical issues worth considering, were we to stop for a moment to consider them. But the cult of speed has a large following, and there’s no time to dally. For those who would dally, this piece is for you.
Being a Luddite vs Being Aware
I’ve been meaning to write something on this subject but just didn’t have the words. Words came to me today; I was listening to a song from the old days, when I was a boy, when beautiful songs would come out of my AM transistor radio. I took it for granted that it would always be that way.
Today, music fidelity is much better on little portables but, as the sound improved, the songs themselves got progressively worse. The content was traded for the quality of the sound. No net gain. Modern music pales in comparison to the old music. With rare exception, there is no comparison. This phenomenon of high def / shallow content is present in other media, as if it’s a business model in its own right. My HD TV looks great but often there’s really nothing to watch.
As for good songs, one of Paul McCartney’s songs struck an expansive chord inside me at an early age. Its simple charm, its message — though it always seemed to me to be more the work of Lennon, or Harrison — resonated once again as I was holed up in my office, slaving away over Google Analytics when, the thought came: The modern world is widening the gap between itself and the ‘Fool on the Hill’. He’s only getting more foolish as I get more digitally wired in. Only a fool–who lived on a hill–would not want to be wired in. Everybody’s doing it. But exactly what is everybody doing? And what was he doing on that hill?
“ …. But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down, and the eyes in his head see the world spinning ‘round.”
Long ago, that song put a question in my head; the question is still there: philosophically speaking, what would prompt someone–other than a fool–to live on a hill, or a mountain, with nothing to do all day but watch the world spin around? Think of all he would miss, all by himself on that hill … maybe he’d like to come down sometimes and sit on a beach and watch the tide come in and go out? Or maybe he prefers the view from up there, with such a perspective … may be he is somehow familiar with T. S. Eliot’s Still Point of the Turning World ….
Conversations, and many of them, are needed — as we race headlong in to an experimental, digital future — an analogue analysis of this new, electronic paradigm, and discussions about its many implications.
We simply have no historical perspective when it comes to this new world that’s forming around us at breakneck speed. This new cybersystem demands only that we buy in to its power and convenience, and accept whatever ramifications that may come. That’s a big demand.
That a system geared to change the foundational dynamics of our world would go largely unregulated is foolishness. There are few industry standards. Technology has evolved past the point where normal, everyday people like those in our governments can follow it, much less regulate it. “Simply put, the old men in suits are out of their league when it comes to IT regulations.” — Toni Koraza.
Perspective is needed here. Considered deliberation needs as many voices as possible, voices of the people of the world, from as many ethnic and cultural domains as there are. For — until we become machines — our home base is analogue, to which we may always refer for advice from ourselves+
“The providence that’s in a watchful state
Knows almost every grain of Plutus’ gold,
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps,
Keeps place with thought, and almost like the gods
Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.”