social media, Technology, Uncategorized

In the Halls of Smoke and Mirrors

Let’s cut to the chase, we know that technology changes society. The idea of disruptive innovation has been around for a while but while – that being that innovations disrupt markets is not carried over to the idea that technology also disrupts society seems to be glossed over as a cost of business.  Yet as technology continues to change the parameters of our existence, it doesn’t seem to take into account the human cost which, as long as we cannot profit from it (yet) can either not be measured or be something to be concerned with. But how are we to go on when all the guideposts we were given have been bleached out by the ever-increasing glare of technology. We try to order our life by rituals by moments in time that we attach importance no longer seem to matter. Growing up we were taught that certain things were important, having dinner together as a family, a basic connection to one another,  and a common agreement as to what was important. However, technology seems to have erased our past like footsteps in the sand. While my childhood weekends were spent outside riding my bike to a friends house, playing games with the neighborhood kids coming home only when the street lights came on at night.

Today, my kids spend their weekends in their rooms glued to their screens, watching life as opposed to living it. Friends are spoken to online, no need for face to face interactions. The ideas some of us may have been raised with have now become quaint museum pieces. A job isn’t something that you have for life, there is no 40-year watch on your retirement any more (I still have my grandfather’s watch given to him on his retirement) but it has become a transitory relationship, a landing point till something else comes along. Friends are not people but clicks on Facebook pages. Why experience something when we can see it from the safety of our room- as there are no new frontiers, at least we can watch the reruns of the old ones.

And yet, how are we to understand this recreated world when we find ourselves lost in a hall of mirrors, where all our maps have become obsolete. We cant raise our children to hope for a better life than what we had as everything is so different we don’t know what is to come. We dare not put a value on anything for the future may convert our diamonds into handfuls of dust. What else to explain this old white man rage, this shaking fist at a furious rate of change that could leave them in a cloud of irrelevance. Our octagenarian leaders sit wag their double chins at the marvels that the computer age has brought, both creating and destroying. Media brings us a constant barrage of dystopian messages only serve as a signal of the old orders distrust of the future and the loss of their value. Hopefully, that marking will too fall by the wayside like a bleached out road sign in the desert.

lady from shanghi

What do you do when the future looks nothing like your past



“A society is judged by what it mourns”

Gorilla Coffee is one of those places etched in my memory of Brooklyn, great coffee and a great place to hang out with people. I was getting the former to do the latter when I noticed the tattoos on my Barista (this makes me wonder if Barista is gender specific Is there a Baristo and a Barista? But I digress). In the crook of each elbow there was a bird pierced by an arrow. This unusual tattoo was mirrored on the other arm and I had to ask the meaning. “ They commemorate sailors lost at sea” was the reply. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t think there are all that many sailor lost at sea these days, but, alas, there holding my coffee I was proved wrong.
Of course people get tattoos to mark life’s passages, entrances and exits yet we don’t seem to carry this physical reverence to the digital world. In the electronic world there is nothing more to mark a passing than pushing the delete button and emptying ones recycle bin on the desktop. An e mail love letter, a Facebook friend or an electronic diary can be deleted with the push of a button. Do we think so little of our digital memories that we see them as worthless and make no notice of their passing? Have we no sense of morning in our digital world? Bertol Brecht once said, “A society is judged by what it mourns”. If that is the case we must hold our digital reality in such low esteem that like smoke rings they can be wiped away with just a wipe of our hand with no thought to their passing or existence?