Monday, 13 July 2009

networking - 1417 words

- all of man's troubles stem from his inability to sit alone, quietly, in a room, for any length of time - blaise pascal -

My tweets update my Facebook status. A friend of mine responded, via Facebook comments, to a query I tweeted, and now, within hours, the conversation is on this blog. The apparatus of all of this is kind of relevant to the discussion...



- from facebook -

cryurchin (tweet)-
"Is technology a physical metaphor for what we think we desire, or is it a suggestion of what we should desire?

N -
When you say 'think we desire' does that mean you believe that if technology is a metaphor for desire, it's for an inauthentic desire that's not what we actually want?

cryurchin -
Potentially, yes. I was thinking that technology seems to represent, at least initially, our desire for more time, and the expension of less energy, so what we'd think of as tools, machinery, basic computing. Then it becomes more abstract, and becomes our desire for information storage and dissemination, items with religious or scientific purpose perhaps, and then we move, slowly, to all the gadgets, and widgets, and dongles we have today. And at each stage technology seems to represent, less and less, what we might consider to be universal desires, which you would expect as specificity increases, can't please everyone all the time and all that, but lately, I wonder if the flow has changed somewhat, and instead of being a manifestation of what people want, or aspire to, it becomes, instead, a suggestion of what we SHOULD want, or SHOULD aspire to. And I wonder when that started? Or whether it's just a peculiar quirk of late-stage capitalism, when tech becomes disposable?

N -
I think you have to distinguish between technology that enables a capitalist society to work and toys that make people enjoy themselves. It's interesting that the two have merged. So I can use my phone to play Jumbo Tetris OR I can use it for work purposes. An insidious destruction of the barrier between work-life and leisure-life. For all his ambitions to increase production I bet Adam Smith would never have dreamt of the pin-makers taking their tools home with them, and continuing to make pins in bed. What we SHOULD want and SHOULD aspire too (the iPhone with the find-a-restaurant 'app') also gives us the option to send work emails in bed. How convenient. This is probably not relevant to your point.

cryurchin -
No, it's pretty much spot on, or it's at least a big part of it. The division between work and leisure, or the breakdown of such, is so bound to technology and aspiration. We work, we produce, via tech, during our down time; we record pictures and videos and blogs, and tweets, to show we have downtime.
I wonder, is the technology that allows a capitalist society a product of a compulsive need, or a manipulated want?"

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