Man and the Machine
I remember the first time I sat in front of my brand new iMac G3. I had never come into such close proximity to technology and I felt both exhilarated and terrified. Following the instructions of my then London flatmate, I attempted to do as he said. With this round looking mouse thing, double click, he said, on a folder, he called, that was on my desktop, he declared. I tried that. With the intention of moving that arrow 'thingie' as he had done, to reach that folder 'thingie' that he had shown. Unlike his gliding arrow, mine seemed frozen in a virtual blue ocean. Convinced I had broken my Mac I screeched for his rescue, only to be mortified by the ironic tone in his voice telling me I was holding the mouse the wrong way round. Duh.
Since then I have become quite the master of the various Mac family members I have lived with over the years and just like everyone else, I have become completely co-dependent on technology. It is an incredible tool that provides me with my livelihood. I respect it and I use it. But I don't like it. Yes, it is faster than doing it by hand. Yes, it is better than doing it by hand, but at the end of a long day, my neck is tense and my teeth are grinding because technology promotes speed and efficiency and as a human I struggle to reach its expectation of me.
I try as much as I can these days to balance using my computer and using my hands. The differences are not so much in the result but in the way that they make me feel. The one tool I like to use most is a pen. When I use it I am forced to surrender to a pace that is slow and follow a rhythm that is consistent. If I fail to do so, the result is a mistake and unlike using my computer it is an irreversible one. This fear of a mistake usually leads me to two options. One, of acceptance, by finding beauty in it, and two, of forgiveness, because mistakes will be made, not
only with my pen but with life in general.
There seems to be much concern these days about technology mimicking mans' behaviour and what it might mean for the human species. Using both mediums, my concern is less about technology mimicking us, but about us mimicking it. We are human and we must be allowed to make mistakes. Ones that are irreversible. Ones that cannot be undone or deleted like technology so easily allows us to. We must be able to remember that our actions have consequences and that we are flawed and what makes us fundamentally human, is our ability to forgive.
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