I think we are finally beginning to suspect this – when it is far too late. But we still find it hard to believe that non-living objects can be evil (after all, that should be our specialty). When it is perfectly obvious that they can be.
Let’s take one of our oldest technologies – alcohol. Man has sometimes been described as an animal that likes drugs – which is true, especially if we generalize drugs to a all our addictions – of which there are many – and growing all the time. Down here, in Latin America, the addiction to cell phones is especially obvious.
But let me return to chemical addictions – of which tobacco has become nearly universal.I remember seeing copies of the LA Times in the marketplace of the Maldives – and wanted to by some to read – since I was so far from civilization. Impossible! They were only used to wrap cigarettes – another imported commodity. They were firm – drugs (and Hashish was their favorite) were much more important. First things first.
Once we encountered mood-altering substances (or practices) – we were hooked for good. And one all-important mood-altering practice was Religion. Which remains our primary addiction. We cannot resist supernatural states of being. I come from a religious family – and I do not dare risk disparaging the family religion If I do – I will be torn to pieces.
Our most important human trait is our ability to imitate. And we can imitate anything – including any of our successful technologies. This is what makes them successful. I knew a guy once (he was my roomate at college) who could imitate the difference between the sound of a Ford engine and a Chevrolet engine. This was back in the Fifties, when things were simpler. He ended up being supported by the state as a handicapped person – which he was.
But let me return to my subject again – how we imitate our technologies. And, and fact – merge with them. The prime example being the Railroads – of which my Father’s Father knew all too well. In my Father’s home town, where I was born – the Santa Fe Railroad was everything. It had all the money, and all the jobs – direct and indirect. The whole economy depended on it. There are now signs saying “You are entering Santa Fe Town.” When the town, which I can remember from my childhood – vanished long ago. Many of the houses (as is typical of the Rust Belt) have been torn down, or boarded over. People have moved elsewhere – in search of jobs.
There is a lesson here, it seems to me, for our times – when new industries have sprung up – based in new technologies – notably the Computer. They too, are biting the hand that feeds them. And we will be left holding the bag.
We have become absorbed by a technology we cannot understand in the least. And believe me – I have tried. Take if from me – Software Development (and this is where it is at) is mass insanity – where only the youngest and smartest dare tread. And I am am neither.
Actually, they need someone like me, who is not too bright, to explain what is going on there. But this will never happen – because they want someone who will make them look good – who will polish their image – who will make them look perfectly sane, when they are not – instead.