Saturday, September 29, 2007

For The Love Of Technology

Which would influence our lives more; a painting full of rich lush colors, blended together with thought and skill, brush strokes and layers of deep paint perfectly harmonized together to simulate a whole image, an image we may hope to gaze at longingly for hours, if we get the chance to visit it? Or the same image with all its beauty and richness captured in two dimensions, printed tens of thousands of times by an optical photo-conducting drum, which is used to transfer this fine black toner to the page. The drum then has to be charged to cause static electricity to repel the toner. Now with the drum charged, a laser shoots in and strafes the drum at about 300 pulses a minute. And poof, we all can buy a print of the painting, hang it in our home and look at it whenever we want. Craftsmanship versus technology and knowledge versus accessibility; which will sustain us as a whole as well as bring passion to the individual?
In Brave New World and 1984 the main characters, John and Winston, both longed for the beauty and individuality of life. In their worlds they saw a system that was flawed and an order without consciousness- for order does not allow for autonomy. If the system is to run properly all the fundamentals of that system must work in correlation with each other. In Brave New World the people were made of that system and into an element of the system, and the way to keep the machine working was soma. Through conditioned happiness and dulled senses the organization of the system was maintained. 1984’s organization worked because the energy and skills of the population were united by the use of fear. But the system in 1984 was still in infancy, the elements were unevenly developed, the goals were vague and the technology crude leaving the viewer uncomfortable and disgusted. Brave New World presents their technology as human progress in a pretty little test tube package (that probably smells nice), leaving the viewer believing a benevolent oppression is better then a violent oppression.
Our natural state, that is who we are intrinsically and how we interact with our environment, is unbalanced with technology. If a system can have an uneven process- one technology not keeping up with another- cannot humans be one of those variables? Humans are creating without understanding the consequences. We need technology because we want technology, but who takes responsibility for what it is doing to our natural state?
Without the Winston’s and John’s of the world the goal would be taken at face value and there would be no checks and balances to curb the effects of technology. We would all have very lovely, high quality printed artwork in our homes without having the tediousness of braving the elements to experience the “real thing”.

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