The digital umbilical cord

July 2, 2016

This morning while in the field. A fellow planter paid me a visit. Hardly had he stepped out of his land rover, his features took on a pensive complexion, soon it was flustered beet root. As he began frantically to search his pockets and rummage thru his car….Then it came out, in a tone of pure horror.

‘I forgot to bring my phone!’

I looked at him serenely and said in a calm tone,

‘No worries…I do that all the time on purpose.’


‘Technology is certainly wonderful…well it appears to be with it’s endless gizmo’s that always seem to hold out the promise of making life easier….better….and more convenient.

But without understanding what came before it or even how technology layers our outlook…ultimately we can only lord valuable insight. As on one hand while technology certainly gives, it not only takes on the sly, debases that which is valuable and good and can nothing more than a vapid and ugly thing.

Whole generations today are growing up without ever knowing what is HiFi. They think it’s iPodism. As for photography. Recently I met someone who told me enthusiastically with tears in his eyes he had just discovered a killer app that could reproduce the moody grainy Ilford of black and white chemical films.

I asked of him sardonically – btw, do you happen to know how to use a mechanical camera….he changed the subject….Ironic?

As for communication, these days people use SMS and Twitter as a psychological firewall to hide their own insecurity hence they prefer to out source it to electronic proxies.

And as for reading….few even have the patience to bear out the beauty of words and ideas….the endless cacophony of the digital age gives us the power to flit here and there like a bumble bee…always here, but somewhere else…all done with that all too familiar bovine attitude of casual voyeurism…there is no depth…none at least to encourage that sort of mindset and even less in the way the provisions for the imagining the fields of possibilities….the digital age can be summed up in the image of a Kim Kardashia’s bubble ass and tits – I here full frontal right in your face! As a consequence most of us who are unfortunate enough to be wired really only seem to have the attention span of a house fly.

What I find incomprehensible and even inexplicably conceited these days is how people these days even take pride and venerate one sentence nano bites replies, as if to show off to everyone, only they and they alone have the uncanny power to read the back of a chewing gum wrapper and decipher all the mysteries of the universe.

So forget deep well thought out disquisitions…settle instead for vignettes and nano bites that can mean everything and absolutely nothing at the same time.

Let us not go further into other more complicated things like food produce and how they are grown today….yes technology is wonderful, but it can also be very depressing when one knows things for what they truly are.

I wouldn’t say old things are good per se…as it implies a fetishness for Proustian Madeleines – but I do subscribe to the philosophy good will be always good, no matter what comes there after…it’s still good……..quality will always be quality in any age or timeline…and a well thought out work, idea even if it is not appreciated in the time it was conceived will garner it’s fair share of adherents with time. I realize many people see the Germans as metallic, functional etc etc, but really that’s an acquired taste brought forth by the evils of globalization and the systematic dumbing down of having to be be part of the EU – where theirs is the religion of sameness……but it was not always like that I once observed for a full hour at a Bauhaus chair in Lintz and marveled at it’s conceptual honesty, economy of lines…it was not aesthetics….beauty…or even how form follows function. Rather it was the dedication of the craftsman’s application to a form that he believed in that broke all norms of his age etc etc….but I do agree with all of you to some extent, the age of the craftsman today is well and truly quite dead with the advent of mass production.

The world is not same….but it’s hardly the end of the world…and I am still glad to have my iphone with me from time to time.

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