Thursday, 27 January 2011


We seem to get bombarded almost daily by new technology designed to make life easier, faster, more secure, more time saving, and more anything else that the designers can drum up. The only draw back is that when it goes wrong it costs an arm and a leg to get it fixed and we feel somewhat deflated at paying an exorbitant cost often way out of proportion to the cost of the appliance or technology that has developed a fault. Every action in life has an opposite action and in reality whilst it sounds good developing gadgets that give us more time in essence it never quite works like that, it makes us not only lazy physically but our mental approach to life and chores change drastically too. In many Western societies people are getting fatter so in theory anyway more exercise is beneficial and less "down time" is needed to generate a less fatter "you" and also exercise your cardio vascular system, keeping you more agile for longer and it also keeps the brain well oiled in the process. There are gadgets that are really very good and do allow us to enjoy aspects of life better like having friends to dinner and our dishwasher does the dirty deed of washing, all when we are well tucked up in bed, also we have less chance of breaking our best crockery too. But outside of these areas Sat Nav is becoming the norm, reading maps is almost an alien ability, where we can track friends, family and others via our mobile phones just about anywhere and should we not get through we can panic and drive ourselves to the dizzy heights of being stressed out, then relaying that feeling to everyone later on, the sadness of being ultra pathetic in an ever increasing 'all about me' syndrome. Where people's confidence wanes as soon as their appliances refuse to work and the thought of manual labour is nearly a thought too far.

Most of us unless we are technophobes don't really realise what technology is available to us and how far advanced it really is. The major stores only stock a limited display of electronic equipment as what they sell is vetted by the gatekeepers, the politburo in purchasing are those who deem what we can and can't have for whatever reason. The days of lavish store selections is far over, unless one goes on line, and then it's all a hit and miss affair after all how do most people find what's technologically advanced, few scout around for it, it's usually a default situation where they've seen, read, etc which has informed them accordingly. As a society we are becoming more gadget orientated and there is a strong market for such, the applications that are available for our PC and mobile phones are just mind blowing, the downside of all this, and there is a downside to everything, is that when it's taken away or doesn't function many are thrown into an inner hysterical fit and feel completely bereft of personal functionality and even suffer from withdrawal symptoms or even impotent in their ability to seek alternative entertainment.. Many a young person, particularly young girls / women who are seemingly welded to their mobile phones and have a habit of checking them every 90 seconds text rather than speak to those around them as an alternative form of communication, and it's often in an abridged language that's only appropriate to mobile texting. Even in our homes should the washing machine, cooker, microwave, vacuum cleaner break down it's almost a priority of high stress value in getting a new one or repairingng it as the functionality of life utilising other or alternative means is almost none existent. If the microwave breaks down you can still cook a microwavable meal using alternative methods, how many people could do that from general knowledge if there aren't any alternative instructions, very few, yet it's incredibly simple.

Some people are technology mad, they have to have the latest in the electronic gadgets,or Apps or software downloads, others not so and some are even frightened to go anywhere near for fear of getting into muddle that they just can't extricate themselves from. Whatever the score the bottom line is that technology is and will be getting smarter and possibly for many more "intuitive" too. Where software memorises not only who we are but our likes, dislikes and funny little habits and tries to think through our pathways and probabilities leading from what it is constantly learning from. It can be just so right but it can also be just so wrong, and if it's wrong the onus on us to put it right can be more than daunting, to say the least. The absence of communication for some is a real test of their inner dexterity it's a real plunge from being able to text and call even vague acquaintances as a form of entertainment about absurd things and get a response, that feeling is a quasi feeling of security and belonging, even though it's usually vastly superficial and mainly habitual more than anything else. Being a "stand alone" person one who can walk and run and think on their feet is far more stable than those that rely of 'air to air' correspondence to gain opinion and a consensus of thought in order to try and formulate a decision for themselves. Whilst technology is of great use to us all, it does for some totally remove their ability to be centred and stable and there lies another story.

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©John Rushton / The Life Alchemist 2011

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