The ipad remains in the drawer.
I’ve finished the book about the failure of technology.* I will only quote one paragraph, from the epilogue.
The Persian Gulf war revealed as nothing before the shape of modern techno-economics, and the deals that have been made among its major players, all made possible and inevitable by the evolution and interweaving of new technologies. Satellite resource mapping from space, centralized global financial management via satellite-computer-banking transfers, the homogenization and massification of cultures resulting from the nearly universal reach of TV and advertising, and the enforcement capabilities of high-technology warfare have conspired to give the largest economic powers an ability to operate more efficiently than ever before on a global scale, and to interlock their economies. The corporate economies of North America, Western Europe, Japan, and more recently the Soviet Union and the Easter Bloc countries, are becoming so merged and interdependent that it is almost meaningless to speak of each economy as separate from the others. This is why so many quickly joined, or at least acquiesced to, Mr. Bush’s military coalition.
We are always told that technology is neutral. It isn’t, of course. We all know about Foxcomm, as just one example. We all know about the suicide nets on the building. We all “know” that buying our gizmos causes suffering. Yet we continue to do it.
So big deal that the ipad is in the drawer. Ain’t gonna change a thing, other than my attention span and productivity rates around the homestead.
I’ve tried to resist technology in a myriad of ways. As Bubbles ages and her heart condition worsens, I’ve been encouraged to take her to a veterinary cardiologist to get her an echo-cardiogram (ultra-sound).
I was encouraged to do this in Michigan and resisted. As a brainwashed recovering catholic, I feel guilt about many things. Having my dog get better health care than most people in the world is high on the list. Too, I feel less and less enamored of interventions that artificially boost longevity.
I surrendered on quality of life. Bubbles was clearly uncomfortable. I just don’t want her to suffer needlessly. So, she got an echo-cardiogram. The doctor was kind but blunt about the seriousness of her condition. Her heart is enlarged. Her mitral valve and the tricuspid valve are both leaking. She came home with many new medications. She goes back for a re-check in two weeks.
As I sit here, Bubbles is lying about four feet away. I can hear her heart beating. I’m living The Tell Tale Heart. The doc assures me that that is not what freaks the dog out. What freaks the dog out is the tachycardia, which occurred as she was being ultra-sounded.
Already with the new meds, Bubbles is calmer. Much calmer.
But I still wonder if I’m doing the right thing. It feels better for me, sure. I don’t have to watch her labor to breathe. I tell myself that however long she has (the meds aren’t going to cure her), at least they will be more comfortable days/weeks/months.
So partly, this is how we accept technology. We each of us want to make ourselves and those we love more comfortable.
The other book I finished, on the face of it, doesn’t have much to do with technology. Called Gun Guys: A Road Trip by Dan Baum, it’s about guns and the love/hate relationship that surrounds them. But it is also about the evolving technology of guns. He refers to the AR-15 as the igun. The book is more of a personal journey in that he asks the question: Why do we love guns so much? But the answer is, in part, because of the technology of guns. He confronts, pretty quickly, the heavy male involvement in gun culture through history.
Guys and technology do seem to go together. I can’t prove this is universal, but in my life, it is the males of our species that are usually first to come home with some new gizmo.
Perhaps it is a genetic thing. Perhaps it’s because technology hasn’t changed much in the female life. There are no self-cleaning appliances (oven self-cleaning is a joke). There are no self-cleaning toilets or rooms or clothes. Hell, there aren’t any riding vacuum sweepers! While “women’s work” has become easier with the advent of electricity, the technology of it all hasn’t changed a whole lot. In fact, think of any drudge work, from mining to agriculture. Where are the drones for dangerous work? Other than military applications, people are still being exposed to dangerous chemicals in the fields; people are still dying in mines; people are still being hurt and killed in a variety of other areas. Robotics in factories have been greedily accepted. Those can be maintained in a constant environment and wind up costing less than humans. They haven’t actually helped people. They’ve helped corporations.
Pretty much every time some new thingie is introduced, we are told that it will make our lives easier, that it will free us to dedicate time to other, more important things. The people doing the telling are corporations.
In actuality, we wind up serving the gizmos. We are being tracked by the gizmos. We are being informed on by the gizmos. The gizmos serve the elite; The Powers That Be. To think they serve us is delusion of the highest order.
And yet, we can’t put them down, we can’t disconnect. Welcome to iDelusion.
*Called In the Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander, it has a 1991 copyright on it and it still holds today. Don’t let the title scare you off, either. There isn’t much woo in it. The subtitle “The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations” makes it abundantly clear that the genocide of indigenous people is continuing apace all over the globe and here in America, aided and abetted by technology.