Saturday, November 2, 2013

Warping Time and Losing Our LIves

A few days ago, I watched a brief (12 minutes) YouTube video that helped explain why I feel "scattered" and unsatisfied most of the time, despite the amazing tools I have literally at my fingertips - computer, smart phone, ebook reader, ipod, internet.  While I can do incredible things with these tools, often I sense that I'm lacking and missing something, while at the same time feeling an overwhelming weight of the intangible digital information they provide.  

The speaker, Abha Dawesar, talks about how technology has altered time and our experiences and how "the self as we once knew it no longer exists abstract digital universe has become part of our identity."  She points out that "so many of us today have the sensation that time's arrow is pointing everywhere and no where at once.  This is because time doesn't flow in the digital world in the same way that it does in the natural one."

I'll share a couple of excerpts from her presentation that struck me as particularly powerful and then you can watch it for yourself:
[The "digital now"] bears very little physical or psychological reference to our own state.  Its to distract us at every turn on the road.  Every digital landmark is an invitation to leave what you are doing now to go somewhere else and do something else....Not just is the digital now far from the present, but it is in direct competition with it.  And this is not just because am I absent from it but so are you. Not just are we absent from it, but so is everyone else, and therein lies its greatest convenience and horror....The challenge is to live in two streams of time that are parallel and almost simultaneous.  How does one live inside distraction?
Time warping technology challenges our deepest core because we are able to archive the past and some of it becomes hard to forget even as the current moment is increasingly unmemorable.  We want to clutch and we are left instead clutching at a series of static moments that like soap bubbles disappear when we touch them. By archiving everything we think that we can store it.  But time is not data; it cannot be stored.
Let me know if it resonates with you, as well.

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