Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Virtual Nothingness

We have split ourselves from the world by allowing technology to mediate our experiences. We have surrounded ourselves with screens that allow us to interact with information rather than just have it pushed out to us. Access to this information is 24 hours. Through technology we can have the feeling we are connected to everything at all times while actually never being connected to anyone at any given time. We have been given the illusion of social interaction because we can say hello to our friends and provide little snippets of information about our activities, and also see the same information coming in from other electronic acquaintances. This gives us the illusion of friendship, and the illusion of society, but there can be no society without human, one-on-one interaction. We are in the realm of fantasy when we think we are informed when we read some piece of opinion from an obscure ideologue in Iowa, or that we have a relationship when someone adds us as a friend on a social network site. How many virtual friends does it take to equal one real friend that can show up on a Saturday morning to help you move to a new apartment? This is just a rant, but the use of technology has not made us more connected, just as having access to more TV programming did not make us more cultured. Life is not as easy as clicking a mouse or changing a channel.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rise Up!

In the beginning man was in nature. There was no separate nature, no line between the world man inhabited and what we, today, call the natural world. Man was one of the animals and competed with other animals. Today, we are separate from the natural world and inhabit environments of our own design and construction. Our separation from the natural world leaves us in a world that is not only artificial in its design, but also in the way we interact with it. Because of this lack of contact with the world, other than through the consumption of purchased goods and experiences, which have become the same in that we purchase everything. We experience more and more of our days through a screen whether on a computer, phone or TV. In our daily lives, we rarely encounter anything real, and when we do encounter something real it stands out like a sparkling diamond. Real things are those things we did not pay for, we cannot return, or request a refund for. We are left to interpret our real experiences. But, for the most part, we spend all of our time working to make sure nothing real ever happens: accidents, suffering, hunger, pain, etc. But in this, we also remove many of possibilities to achieve life. By building a structure of certainty, of supermarkets with perpetually available food, of TV with perpetually available entertainment, however banal, we destroy the spontaneousness that can come from living life as it occurs. It’s time to turn off everything that places a barrier between the real and the purchased, the mediated, scheduled, programmed, calendared, designed, packaged, guided, directed, produced, processed, industrialized, imported, exported, delivered, etc. It’s time to turn off the machine and throw away your credit card, phone, computer, cable, etc. Remove yourself from everything you cannot explain. It’s time to kill the machine. Stop the machine and all those that wish to turn us into simple economic entities that consume, produce, and consume. Rise up and conquer the artificial world and start living in the real!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plan B

Another year on Earth has slipped by and I am feeling the weight of all of this meaninglessness more than ever. Perhaps it is because I have everything I need: wife, daughter, love, health, money, work, etc. It’s all there; the ingredients for a happy, fulfilling life, but I feel empty, as if I am wasting my time and death looms out there in the future. What does it all mean? Do I need a crisis to give life some meaning? No, working through a crisis is too stressful. What I need to do is work on something meaningful to me, something that will allow me to express this craving I have. The problem is that I am not intelligent enough, or creative enough, to do anything meaningful. My brain is too slow, too weak to really do much of anything. Somehow it’s been strong enough for me to work for and around Microsoft for nearly 8 years. My brain is weak, but my luck is good. I have been lucky my entire life. I have counted on my luck to get into situations that require little of me, that allow me to float rather than swim. But I am tired of floating, and I don’t feel like swimming. I want out of the pool, and back onto the chaise lounge where I can order a beer and get back into my book. Simply put, I am sick of doing what I don’t want so I can accumulate more things that require me to do more things I don’t want. I am tired of work and want to do nothing, but what I want for the rest of my life. But then, that is not really an option. I have to work. I have a daughter going into college that is going to require money, money and more money. I have a mortgage that has to be paid each and every month. I have to keep up appearances even though I don’t care about how I appear. How to get out of this? We have built up a world of things so that it’s now impossible to enjoy them.

I need a plan B.