Posts Tagged With: technology

Making Man a God

I’m tired! I’m tired of the status quo. I’m tired of widgits. I’m tired of the first question people ask being, “what do you do.” What piece of work is man; so noble in stature, so majestic in character; that he should turn aside dreams for ambition, love for money, life for desires. How like a god is a man, that he should recreate the world to take the shape that he desires, instead of living in harmony with all the creatures therein. But oh if a god, surely he would have the wisdom to trump intelligence, to say when its time comes, “You shall proceed this far, and no further, for this is all that is necessary!”

How is it that we have ascended so high into the heavens, that we forget that there is a divide?  Nietzsche said, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”  I would add to that “God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.” — Rousseau.  All of the obsessions of modern man, can be an expression of this.  We have built towers to the sky, just as in Babel, but we are no nearer to knowing how to make them stand in perpetuity.  We hinge our future not on connection with the source of being, but on futures and annuities.  And worse yet, these “securities” are built upon the labors of great men who dared to dream; who dared to develop technologies that could benefit the world but instead fatten the pockets and portfolios of a chosen few while the lion’s share of people are without most of the technologies designed to benefit them.

In “modern” nations, we flush our effluent with drinking water, while in undeveloped areas there is not enough clean water to sift from the waste.  How does this idiocy continue?  Meanwhile, socialistic thoughts–while true enough in concept–disrupt the “natural” order of the world which dictates that some will have much while many will have not enough.

I don’t think the answer is through forced distribution.  I do think the answer can be arrived at by many pulling their heads out of their tucheses long enough to see that it is not all about them.  In fact, most of us could probably benefit from that.

Now, benefits have been cut for veterans, while the president flies off to vacation in Hawaii on taxpayer dollars.   Meanwhile, politicians still get full benefits for life after retirement.  Why?  What in the hell makes them so special?  They are the ones with the educations, after all, to pursue business lives after office.

And while we are on the subject, why is the National defense budget 52% of the total national budget?  Who are we defending ourselves against?  Our great enemy Canada?!  As was said by an Israeli in an episode of The Simpsons, “Try living next to Syria for a month!”  Can’t we funnel manpower and funds into the rest of the economy that is not dependent upon the war machine?  I’m for a strong military, and I thank soldiers for their service quite often, but when is enough enough?

But then I suppose we wouldn’t have all the control over oil, and the rest of the nations in the world would dislike us because we’d seem weak and scattered.  Wait a minute…they already do!

Sorry for the scattered rant there, I was just rolling with it.

Getting back to the first topic: don’t tell me what you do, tell me what you “is.”  I’m a whole lot more interested in what makes a person tick than I am with what a person ticks for.  I’m interested in the essence, the nitty gritty.  Don’t define yourself by your occupation, occupy your definition of yourself.  Shave expenses, read a book, take a walk, dream a little dream.  Take a ride in the car.  Take a stay-cation.  Enjoy life, because as far as we know, you only get one.  Use occupation as the tool that it is, instead of turning yourself into a tool.  When what is most important is the superficial, a god is created, an idol is worshipped.  Don’t turn man, money, religion, hardship, success, work, politicians or dissenters into idols.  Don’t classify people by education, occupation, transportation, habitation, or sanitation.  I promise you, none of these things last…unless you’re a politician, that is.

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Smartphones, Dumb People?

There is a running battle within me.  Part of me loves having my iPhone and, at times, can’t envision productive life without it.  I have a universe of information at my fingertips!  With the wealth of apps available, many for free or very cheap, I can write job bids for everything from siding repair to a complete remodel, look up real-time prices at Home Depot or Lowes, and study Torah with a tap of a finger.  But here is the problem: with the wealth of apps available, many for free or very cheap, I can write job bids for everything from siding repair to a complete remodel, look up real-time prices at Home Depot or Lowes, and study Torah with a tap of a finger.

Sometimes I really wonder if the trade-off is worth it.  My phone has an eight mega-pixel camera, which totally blows away any camera costing less than $2000 a decade ago.  I can shoot HD video, edit it in-phone, and upload it to the internet within minutes (something I actually did earlier today).  Then again, because of all this, I use my DSLR camera less.  I don’t hesitate to pull out my phone, six days a week, to take a picture of my daughter with her clothes stuffed, and acting like a sumo wrestler.  But do I really enjoy these moments as much as I would if I were focused on experiencing them?  Perhaps, when there was no alternative, we paid a lot more attention and committed more things to memory.  A small example of this may be found in the fact that we don’t memorize phone numbers like we used to.  In fact, this is becoming such a dying art, that the mere idea of knowing phone numbers is preposterous to most modern children!

The dependence upon technology does seem like a necessary evil, especially when you consider how far things have progressed–technologically speaking–in the last few decades.  There is no denying that technology will only be increasing in societal saturation in the years to come.  It is awfully frustrating at times, especially when my kids are home from school and have to use a computer to do their homework.  For many of my classes, I have no choice but to use a computer for my homework.  Sixteen years ago, when I met my wife, I had never even been on the internet before.  I absolutely loved the manual typewriter that I had which typed in cursive!  I would take it here and there, like some kind of antique laptop, hauling with me the paper that I needed, and cussing myself for each typo.  Now, I can talk into my phone, and have it type out everything I say (with reasonable accuracy).  Yet, I come here to write, and write I do.  Perhaps “writing” is being a bit daft, most of the time I seem to just vomit out words through my fingertips.

I have been trying to figure out a way to enjoy the benefits of my smartphone, without suffering from the zombification that comes along with it.  I have considering deleting the Facebook app from my phone, and disabling the email app.  Sometimes though, I wonder why I should bother to keep it at all.  It is great to have the wealth of information available, but it seems like it could have an effect on decreasing wonder–although it doesn’t seem to have done this for me.

Maybe the answer is to become more like the Amish.  Instead of totally spurning technology though, I think I just need to be able to be stronger in terms of resisting the urge to open my email or Facebook when I have a free minute.  Maybe I need to just spend less time with earbuds in.  Perhaps the answer is to become a bit “Jewmish.”  The Amish make up about 2% of the American population, as do Jews.  But the hard part is that whenever I consider increasing my luddite nature, I can’t figure out where the line should be drawn.

I don’t really think many people are reading my blog yet, it has only been a week, so perhaps one day people will be combing through the archives, but if any of you have any suggestions, I’m open to hearing them!

 

Note:  shortest–regular–post yet!!!  Yippee!!

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