03 January 2011


Some "unconnected" thinking:

A friend posted on the FB to ask if others had rules/policies for laptop use for their kids and made the claim that she'd applaud and encourage her child's becoming engrossed for hours in a book or encyclopedia but it just felt wrong to allow this on the laptop (engrossment). [She may let us know if I mischaracterized her position.]

My dad sent me (unemployed son) a link to a U of Illinois project about energy "redesign" and energy audits, etc., and tells me he knows that they will be hiring in the spring. (As I live in Bloomington, IN I don't think this is "for me".)

So, as to the first--though you see me using my laptop to write and post on this blog--I am someone who thinks we are in the thrall of technology, that technology really is, in essence "us", and I think we need to use our very great brain to STOP using our very great brain. Opposable thumbs don't set us apart or make us dominant--our language and ability to make things do--and added to this our ability to abstract from those things. Abstraction is our gift and our curse. We need to find our way back to the concrete animal nature we share with all the other beings of this planet. Of course, we need to be more animal than techneme (I made that up, what do you think?) if we like our planet and want to subsist on it. If we don't then all will change and technology will save those of us who can afford to become one with it and survive not on oxygen and water but on energy.

The computer--the internet--the information...is a new neural network in our minds--a new way to read and think. It WILL change us. How will it change us? This is an open question of course but this mind thinks it will erase more and more of what we share with other creatures and create a being based only on the binary codes of data points. Facts without truths. Ah philosophy, where are you and what are you in service of these days?

Now, as to the second note above--energy conservation. It is a no win situation I've finally decided. Conservation is not changing our ways of being...primarily we are instructed to reduce waste (caulk, seal, buy high efficiency, etc.). We eat energy (our brains, likewise, eat energy--about 20% of our calories are used by the brain) and we will not stop. We may find new ways to get it, but we aren't the humans we want to be without it. Technology needs energy.

I firmly believe we are on the "correct" arc of human development. That is to say that once we settled and began growing food and living more sedentary lives we became enthralled with how we could manipulate nature to our advantage and ease. And once that happened there was nothing but technology in the offing. All of our lives are tied into it (at least this is so in "western" countries--those without surplus energy cannot use technology and so cannot change into the "new human").

The machines will not dominate us--they are us. It is not hard to imagine the next steps in our evolution. Good or bad? Who's to say...it feels wrong to me. It feels "singular" and cold. But maybe that's what perfect is.

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