The Global Moment

Technoslave

It seems the more 'connected' we are, the more detached we become.
PETER FUNCH

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The monitored lifestyle trend is upon us. The Inner Balance App monitors your mood, feelings, anxiety, depression and stress levels and promises to make you feel at ease, happy, positive, composed…no use for existentialism, meditation or yoga after all, now that there’s an App for inner peace!

There’s dozens of apps to help you sleep, in case you forgot how to relax and let your mind slide surreptitiously into the dream world. The producers of eSleep ignore the fact that too much of that sallow cyber glow coming off your screen is a documented trigger for insomnia.

And Apple is now the first tech megacorp to capitalize of your infant’s rites of passage. The iPotty was designed to help toddlers potty train by keeping them entertained (read: distracted) when nature calls, forgetting the fact that if we train our children to busy themselves instead of ceding to innate impulses, we can short circuit their bodily patterns. What happened to the adage, “when you need to shit, shit; when you need to eat, eat.”

What happens when we become dependent on these technologies ... to live, to raise kids, to sleep, to find meaning and peace? Will the next generation be entirely cyborgian like this four year old girl? Is this really something to be embrace, as Donna Haraway and other post-modernist thinkers suggest?

Read Eric Slate’s article below from Adbusters #77, “Technoslave,” and re-consider if the cyborgian horizon is really something you want to celebrate.

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Once, while I was riding on a crowded bus, the man sitting next to me threw his cell phone out the window. When his phone rang, instead of dutifully answering it, he casually tossed it away. I was stunned. He looked at me, shrugged and looked away. I had no idea if it was his, if it was stolen or if he even knew what a cell phone was. But in one seemingly careless motion, he managed to liberate himself from something that has completely consumed me.

When my cell phone rings, it's an incessant and incensed vibration that demands my immediate attention. I curse its calling, but am unable to refuse. Whether I'm in the middle of a conversation, in the shower or sound asleep, the ringing causes such panic and excitement that I feel forced to answer.

"The pressure to answer the pulse or ring in a flash has Technoslaves hopping to grab the message, scrambling away to find clearer signals and/or deal with the urgency of the moment as though it borders somewhere on the fringes between life and death," writes The Trends Journal editor Gerald Celente." ... And for what, to say hello, to bitch and moan or do business on the phone?"

Technology is supposed to free us from the shackles of work and give us more leisure time. But it has proven to do the exact opposite. A 2005 Leger Marketing survey for the technology newspaper Computing Canada found that the majority of people feel technology has meant more work and less time with the family. Whether it's cell phones, Blackberry's, video games or email, we have become a culture enslaved by our electronics.

As people fall further into their personal gadgets, scientists and psychologists are now beginning to classify technology dependency as a major health problem, putting it in the same categories as alcoholism, gambling and drug addiction. The stress it creates is causing arthritis, migraines and ulcers. These physical attachments are causing weight gain, back problems and bad skin. But most troubling, it is having a powerful impact on our personal development. It seems the more 'connected' we are, the more detached we become.

"Humans are being trapped in a high-tech cycle that is freezing their minds away from living in the moment, looking at life and taking in what's around them," writes Celente. "While technology has radically altered the externals of life, it has done nothing demonstrable to enhance the internals: moral, emotional, philosophical and spiritual values."

As I stare blankly into a computer screen for hours on end, sometimes I wonder if there's a secret message hidden in this technological maze. But the more I stare, the more I keep coming up with the same answer: I am trapped.

Eric Slate

30 comments on the article “Technoslave”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 30

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ilya

I became addicted to online porn probably when I was 13. At 23, I'm still addicted. And I can't tell anyone cause I'm too embarrassed. Yet I know I am by far not alone. I've spent days at a time browsing for porn on the internet all by myself, afraid that someone else should find out. Meanwhile, my grades suffered. I've never had a real relationship with another girl. Developmentally, I am many years behind in my ability to interact with real people. Am I alone? Or is internet addiction the great silence of today?

Kurtis

We, in Generation Y, embrace 'liquid life' unapologetically, with a submissive embrace of the machine. The widespread transmutation of social lives onto the web reforms key essences of human life. Ultimately, our humanity will be reflected primarily through our electronic possessions. We will no longer endorse the real world, as our minds will be subjected to the vicarious metaphysics 'liquid life' creates for us. Thus, the issue of 'liquid life' becomes an overarching dampening of the human form, changing us into something... else.

Susana

I am reading liquid times, from Bauman, when I finish this one I will go after liquid love, from the same author. He does not only talk about web, his theory goes further comparing the isolated barrios in big cities that divide black, from white, rich from poor etc.. this rich guethos that are living in their own world, trying no to mix with the other, he also explains that this global society has effects everyday locally, every little thing that happens in western world has an effect in the economically poor of the South. For example, the bombs in september 11 affected in a local area in Manhatan but the cause of the bombings is analized as a global problem, he says that in our everyday life it is stupid that we keep on not wanting to know nothing about the refugee, immigrants or poor people, because the less we know about them in every city today there are plenty of immigrants or plenty of people living under poverty, if we ignore them, or feel they have nothing to do with us, when this part of society is in big trouble like the riots in Paris,or the racist riots in some parts of Spain we will never understand them becuase we do not share a cup of tea with them, we do not talk about our kids with them, we do not ask for some sugar to them, we do not talk in the bus stop with them. Bauman explains liquid refering speccially to the incresing individualism that make some people feel they are happy and others fell they are excluded. He sees liquid as an important fact that explains that humans beings today have no predictable future, have to cope with new thing all the time, have the cpacity of chaching habits, jobs, relationships, in a way of suriviving this changing society the is fluid like water and has no roots. It moves and moves but it nevers stteles down. I specially like the comparasion he makes with fanmilies living well, that do not ask for help because we have needs satisfied and do not want to know about the others problems, with parts of society that because their needs are not satisfied develop communities relationships and human relationships strongly. Sorry for my poor English. Susana from Spain.

michelle

I believe liquid life does give you a false sense of control. I also believe it gives you a false sense of any kind of reality. Life is life and if we ca not learn to live life on life's terms many of us become ostrich's and burry our heads in the sand. If you have a ostrich like personality to begin with and you add something like Liquid Life to it, it may very easily become a addiction. Usually it is too late when we realize we are in too deep and out of control. Then the outcome isn't usually good.

Mary Beth

Liquid life or online relating to other humans is merely another communication tool. Ultimately it succeeds because of its ease of use. People make it what they want it to be. Some people are shy, some people have an intolerance of idiots; whatever your reason is, if you don't feel like communicating in person there is another tool available to you. It also has many benefits of putting you in touch with people who you wouldn't have contact with otherwise. Some will fall victim to the anonymity of an online communication tool but there is enough of blaming our devices for the inherent behaviors of the strange beings inhabiting this planet. Communication is as individual as the people communicating. There is no control over that.

turbo

I think online liquid life is about the strive for perfection. People craft their image and words carefully at the personals sites and it is safer than confronting people in the real world, less uncomfortable. People want everything to be easy and safe and perfect, they can make their myspace or facebook page that way easier than they can make themselves that way.

Krs

If you stay in it for too long your mind becomes enslaved and it is impossible to plug out........Do you ever find yourself feeling aggrevated or annoyed when someone disturbs you while you are on the web....or that weird disengaged feeling you get after plugging out after long hours on the web.....it's real fool.

Matt

Sorry to be controversial, but in a world where meatspace relationships and social arrangements are such that nobody knows their neighbours because of paranoia and envy not due to online processes I believe there is a levelling and ultimately socialist trend in online networking. Yes it can be addictive, but so can exercise, food and stimulants. Anything that draws likeminded people together and allows them to communicate freely on subjects of their choice in an environment where they feel comfortable should be applauded in a time when personal freedom is being eroded.

TiM

The allure to the web for me is the ability to cooperate in a/the virtual community without actually having to be at any particular place. Like this comments option for this article for instance, after writing my comment, I can visit other sites, go pay attention to actual reality, or do just about anything but and not excluding hang out on this page and wait for someone else to comment after me. But I am still part of the conversation, so after a few hours or the next time I am on the net, I can check up on this page and read up on the conversation that is taking place by way of proxy and over time, amended. I do spend a lot of time on the net, but I try to use it like any other tool; an extention of my 'self'.

Leilakin

I met my husband of 3 years online in a game - World of Warcaft. Some of my best friends live across the planet and we have never met in person, yet we celebrate birthdays, console one another, and communicate every week. I feel that the internet allows for the creation of meaningful and real social networks, communities, and structures.
I don't feel that plugged in to a liquid life, detached from reality feeling that is alluded to by Bauman and other. When someone identifies internet socializing as something bad it reveals their lack of understanding or identification with online communities that are made up of real people.

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