The 19th and 20th Centuries were periods of rapid change. So much happened, people could not cope with these changes – and they decided the best way to be – was to not be. The world of their time was too much for them to cope with – so they wouldn’t even try.
This change began with the discovery of electricity, and the telegraph – that eliminated space and time! Once transcontinental cable were laid, everyplace was the same – as far as the telegraph key was concerned. People didn’t stop to think about this awesome change – they never do. They just rushed to embrace it – and rushed is the right world.
They rushed to lay more railroad lines and steamship lines. The world went crazy! And went through the most destructive wars ever – the American Civil War, WWI, the Depression, and WWII. People were eager to be overwhelmed by the latest changes. The casualties of these wars were huge – but were easily compensated for by a population boom, that still continues.
The discovery of electricity was accompanied by the discovery of photography – and they merged to form the movies. Where people would sit in darkened rooms, and watch the illusion of moving pictures! They were poor, in the Depression – but their movie stars were rich. They were quick to realize that illusions were better than reality. And they wanted more illusions.
These illusions were provided by a new technology – the radio. Another miracle that they didn’t understand, but they didn’t need to – they could listen to it – in their homes and battlefields. That quickly became the same place. The distinction between combatants and civilians become hopelessly blurred. And remain so.
Then along came another new technology – television! This was totally overwhelming – not partially overwhelming, as the others had been – but totally overwhelming! Just what people wanted. Their minds were wired into the television networks – and they didn’t want them back.
Note the new use of the word wired here. That was quickly adopted by the next technology – the Computer.
So much had happened by this time, the Seventies, that people had gone into shock – and could not begin to understand what was happening to them.
But this is where I want to begin my story – by explaining the different worlds that the Computer, and its Software are in. I will concentrate on Software – something that did not exist before the Computer – and which most people have no feel for at all.
Software exists in the Computer – but also in the world outside it. This is the important point, that I want to emphasize. These are two worlds, that are mysteriously interconnected by Software.
As someone who has tried to understand these connections – I can tell you, with absolute certainty – that these connections are defective. And will remain so, for some time to come. But defective or not – they are there. And are effecting us, in our everyday lives.
They will not go away, just because we ignore them. As in many other ways, the world is a mess – but it is still the world, the only one we have.