All posts by nickaune

The Abandonment of Being

Authors note: Thanks for the inspiration Pete. Your post inspired me to also yell at clouds.

My two oldest run down the hill towards me, their hair glows golden in the sun and whips wildly in the wind around their dirty faces, bright red lips laughing. The baby is behind them trying to keep up, occasionally letting out a loud squawk to make sure we know she’s still there. This is a nice summer day. I am, of course, at the bottom of the hill, phone in hand, tapping the screen as fast as I can desperately trying to capture these fleeting moments. Adding to the thousands of images and hours of videos I’ve already managed to horde.

I love what technology has given us. I can adjust any photo and take as many as I want. In my hand is access to all almost all of human knowledge. I can answer almost any question in a matter of seconds, but still I miss something. I miss something tactile.

There’s something that feels really good about having a physical touch. Clicking a shutter that hits real film that get turned into real photographs. I miss buttons that click. I miss the feel of a pen gliding across paper, and as a lefty- leaving and inky smudge on my hand. I miss the musty smell of old books and paging through an encyclopedia. I miss anxiously waiting for something.

A few week ago there was a painting created by artificial intelligence that won first place at the Colorado State Fair. I won’t deny the dedication and talent that went into developing the software and I do find it incredibly fascinating and impressive. He really did put in a lot of work. But, is it real? Where are the blobs of paint? Where are the little gummy bits that dripped to the floor? Where is the smell of titanium white gently wafting from the canvas ?

Neo-luddites call for the destruction of technology, believing that modern problems can’t be cured by technology, only worsened by them. German philosopher Martin Heidegger believed that technology transformed everything in the world into resources, a “standing-reserve,” existing to be used up. Leading to our own abandonment of being, robbing us of awe and wonder.

Unplugging is attractive. In recent years, there has been growth in a movement towards modern homesteading. People growing their own food, making their own clothes. Some are also dedicating themselves to slowing down and enjoying their lives, focusing on quality over quantity.

I don’t think technology is bad. I’m not giving up my phone, but I do want to put it down more. I also want to keep my 35mm camera handy. Loaded with real film, and only 24 exposures that I will mail away to get processed and then have those prints returned to me, maybe in 2-4 weeks. I look forward to waiting for them, anxiously.