Who are ‘we’……really? – Part 2

January 20, 2016

The question to me in this age has never been – who are ‘we.’We are really only in a position to ask that sort of question – if it’s possible to control all the drivers that will continue to subtlety shape our thinking along with where we are headed….these days in the age of the borderless world, it’s no longer possible to do either.

So to me it has to be a rare form of madness to assume these days, it’s possible to answer that question….who are ‘we.’

Because that question: who are ‘we’ cannot possibly exist at all in a borderless world where everyone aspires towards the same thinking and things – that is a veritable oxymoron.

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‘I happen to be the last of the ‘cross-over’ generation. I am not referring to the China wine variety of crossover. Rather it’s a sobriquet term of endearment that I coined to describe that time line marking the transitionary period from analog era to the digital age.

The cassette to me will always be a metaphor of the analog age…for one it was excruciating slow. For instance, if you wanted to listen to the last track. You would have to press a physical button to activate a motor that spools the magnetic tape all the way to near the end. Meanwhile you could busy yourself with flipping a few pan cakes or doing the laundry. Then after an eternity – only then can you play the desired track….life was very slow back then like most things.

Today in the digital age. Everything is quicksilver fast and furious – press and viola it’s there before you. Don’t like what you see…change it with an app. You get it in an instant. But the one compelling differentiator between the analog and digital age isn’t speed as much as endless variety and choice…that to me is the essence of the digital age.

You’re able to customize everything from your entertainment to whatever else piques your interest with remarkable ease.

You’re even able to do this no matter how incredulous you come across…because your audience is global and not local.

You can set up a Facebook account in five minutes and find like minded people without too much difficulty, who may even share your objects of interest – like we’re not about a coherent set of ideals or values, we are not about being serious about anything…we’re really just about giving ourselves a YOLO (you only live once) feel good high every five minutes for the next two hours…now you can actually do all that in the digital medium. And not only do you have the tool kit to create your own virtual community, but that also allows to fashion your own reality as well.

What I’ve just described is an allegory or microcosm of what’s happening to everything in this world – everything ranging from businesses to how best to tie your shoelaces.

Everything!

Virtually everything is sucked into this giant digital blender and rehashed into something very different from what it used to be – so when we speak about identity in the context of nationhood, it’s neither reasonable nor realistic to assume it can somehow remain a stand alone untouched by the metallic hand of the digital age…it cannot….simply because in this age where everyone and everything is marinating in this lime green swirl of circuitry.

Nothing can ever be truly esoteric…abstruse or recherché any longer.

It cannot, as the world is very slowly liquifying into one homogenous glacier of consciousness, where everyone will basically chase the same dreams and aspirations irrespective of their locale.

I don’t doubt, there might still be nooks and crannies in this world where people may still hold on to some values they all consider timeless and universal….but these are rare exceptions, like firms that still produce stuff with star spangled labels which say, ‘proudly made in America.’

In the final analysis it’s a war of attrition between man’s stream of consciousness and the dexterity of the machine to whirl further into every aspect of his life. And I have absolutely no doubt humans will at some point be anesthetized by the whole process of digitalization.

It’s already happening now. Droves of people are walking around with wires stuck to their ears as if they are all suffering from mass hearing impairment. As they trudge along in their hermetically sealed bubble world glued to their smart phones.

We don’t perceive it as curious or odd only because it’s an acquired taste that naturalized into a lifestyle….that is precisely my point…it hard if not impossible to know for certain where it all begins or ends.

Having said that. A few things are very certain, with each successive exponential leap in processing power, the less we can hold on to the idea of individuality…that’s the ultimate paradox of the digital age. On one hand, it holds out the promise of infinite diversity and endless variety that appears to buttress the whole idea of individuality, yet substantively everything about the individual is frittering away into whirlpool of vapidness and sameness where increasingly catchy soundbites are taking over whole discourses.

In an age where it’s increasingly impossible to still the mind and bear out patiently the beauty of words slowly and carefully ….it’s very hard to make out a better world…that at least is how I, the analog man sees it all in this digital age.’

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