August 5th, 2009
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techno rant (or “embracing the mystery”)

i am not the kind of person to follow a trend. i don’t often feel pressured to jump on any bandwagon no matter who is at the helm. i like to do things my own way, and that means making things up as I go. I find trends do not make for interesting work. there is often not a lot of ingenuity or thought happening once they take hold. I like to see people pushing the limits, or using things in unexpected ways. or taking an old medium and shifting the context, giving it a new meaning. i will use technology when it seems useful to me, but there is not a lot of it that I feel ‘adds to’ my life. these are just tools after all, not things that alter the shape of your life. i want to have technology serve me, not the other way around. less is more. i don’t want to read manuals, i have much better things to do with my time. i see the use of a lot of new technology driven by the need to be competitive, or compatible or “edgy”. but competitive, compatible or “edgy” doesn’t necessarily mean ‘works well’, or good use of materials and time. and it certainly doesn’t involve things that come from the gut. competitive, compatible or “edgy” are driven by a need to compare ourselves to others, a need to impress, or feel like we are “in the game”. these things are not real in the long run and they infect our psyche without our really knowing it. “so and so is doing that, so I should do it too.” do we stop to think about whether we respond to the particular medium at hand? do we stop to ask ourselves how this new invention will affect our perception of the world? of ourselves? shouldn’t we? do the new technologies bring our best parts to the forefront? do they make us feel good? or do they sap us of energy and steal away large chunks of time that could be better spent in the world? I would never criticize the shifting of media power to the individual as in the case of some instant technologies. but how many of us are living up to that potential, sharing information that would be otherwise lost? some yes. many no. how do we know when our use of technology is successful? do we rely on feedback from others? are social mediums really helping us to feel connected? or do they actually rely on creating a lack of intimacy among individuals? texting not talking. do we really need to accessible 24 hours a day? do your readers need to know where you are every ten minutes? why the need to follow someone? and what ever happened to ‘winging it?’ just choose a salad dressing, it’s okay if your wife doesn’t like it. maybe it’s meant to be. what ever happened to happenstance? wandering. drifting. taking a risk. taking a wrong direction. making a mistake. living in the moment. spending time alone. with just yourself. daydreaming. no iphone. no camera. no text.
when it gets right down to it the individuals that are really doing interesting things and changing the world don’t seem to paying much attention to the cutting edge technologies. they’re too busy conducting experiments, spending time alone, making mistakes, dreaming up new ideas, sitting in the midst of uncertainty… embracing mystery.

 
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