“It’s better to be a dissatisfied human in a flawed reality than a satisfied pig in hog heaven”. John Mill
Technology is making us into its’ Fools.
I say this with a degree of sadness and long-suppressed fear, but I now realize that the more we saturate our lives with the signposts of ‘civilization’, that is, technology, the less we feel. The less we think ( for ourselves). The less we conversate and seek understanding. The less we empathize. The less we know. The more we overwhelm Nature with our dumb-asses…er…I mean, short-sightedness.
Being in the tech field for some time, I see first-hand the creeping rigamortis. The blank stares and automated gestures. The self-referential, tiresome hubris of ‘go-getters’ more than willing to lose their souls in their sad treks to oblivion (i.e the culturally-defined ‘good life’). Then there are those on the opposite end–the burnt out and disgruntled. The restless and the bored–the dreamers of other roads, perhaps. It can be argued that the latter group should not be in the tech field if their dreams and talents are better suited for other endeavors. I submit that although this argument is indeed a valid one, it misses the critical point of my argument: how technological culture disembodies the individual whether or not he/she is a worker or consumer of its’ products and processes. Aldous Huxley’s, “Brave New World” truly embodies this human cost of technological society.
Technology in itself is not the problem: It is Man’s relation to technology that is problematic to me. Personally, I find the field fascinating and impossible to keep up with as changes seem to occur at a unbelievable pace. Yet, over the years I have seen a number of my fellow techies fly around halls with a vaunted sense of self (ridiculously amusing!) as if anointed by the Technological Gods to spread the Irrefutable Word according to Teknos. This seems like some type of displacement to me–a means of avoidance ( of what, I don’t know). A critical question arises with regards to this notion of displacement ( or alienation which is a more popular term): What does it mean to be human caught in the present socio-historical period where technology insinuates itself (most notably in highly industrialized societies) in the many things that we do from watching TV, listening to our iPODS, working on our computers to banking, tele-conferencing and reading the daily news (online)?
From my vantage point, we are becoming ( have become) the tools of our tools. The philosopher Foucault expanded upon this point of the dominance of technology exerted on Man and the resultant powerlessness and displacement felt. For those of us in the IT field, the monetary rewards can blunt the pain somewhat as a comfortable way of life is afforded, but left unexamined and undigested, this chosen path to earn a living can turn one into castaway from what is truly of value in this life.
To speak of the wreck that technology has made of Mother Earth is yet another sad tale that has been smothered/diluted by the coopted media as they, as expected, gush over the latest device. Let’s take cell phones and computers.Where do you think they end up? In mountains of toxic waste from India to Africa ( the waste travels from the richer to poorer nations). How can one sing the praises of technology when this same technology chokes and strips this Earth of its beauty?
So what the fuck, right? Try telling that to your children or grand-children as they will reap what has been sown today. When individuals and societies are not forced to confront the consequences of their choices, a dystopic reality takes root and down, down, down we will surely go.