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.

...

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 21 - 30 of 30

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Steve

As a person who wasted literally wasted 85 days over 3 years of his life playing World of Warcraft as an escape from real life disappointment, technological escapism destroyed several very important relatinships in my life, as it replaced actual social interaction. It is however, my own fault. But this liquid love or life despite being an increadible tool of connection with numerous other communities and individuals who otherwise would have no contact, poses a danger to social behaviour and one's ability to interact and deal with the real world. This does mean that techonological societies such as Massive Multiplayer Online games are terrible, but they do pose serious dangers, which need serious answers. As in my case, a certain amount of escapism isn't bad, its when it replaces your surrounding environment and replaces reality, that it becomes destructive. This dilema is just the beginning of today's techonoligical advances, and is the beginning of a systemic problem that will only grow in the near future.

finn

The thing for me is that virtual communication has a history. That history is rooted in the U.S. nuclear missle program, DARPA, and then progressively, these rooms filled with glowing 'microsoft blue' spread throughout our society: banks, libraries, schools, even prisons, etc. and now that glowing screen, that humancomputer interface is in our homes. In addition to that is the fact that facetoface interaction is really a mysterious, beautiful, spiritual thing where you have all of these perceptual and expressive processes going on that nourish you and teach you. These relationships are how we SURVIVE! In my opinion, we are meddling in a military, sometimes called 'cyborg' technology with some of our most vital processes with these liquid relationships. Yes, the power and the speed are exhilirating and allow us to do things our parents barely even dreamed of. I agree with Matt that there is immense paranoia, and I think that is a suburban phenomena to a large extent. I also agree with Krs, that these media are habitforming. Addiction to a closed system of information, which the web is, as opposed to say looking at a flower, is spiritually dangerous for us. Can we really afford to zone out NOW? in 2008? with all that is on the lineno pun intended?

rehash

Great article to read while I read Brave New World for the first time. It costs nothing to go say hey to your physical neighbour. Unless he or you is a real asshole, odds are, you won't be subjected to thirty seven different ads on the way over. You probably won't have to pay a subscription fee, either. But saying hey to your physical neighbour keeps no factories busy. exclusively online relationships can be meaningful. How does your Chinese friend's birthday cake taste, though? What's it like to walk into your Aussie friend's house? Might as well do away with your body and hardwire yourself in. I design computers by profession, and have a degree in software development, so Luddite is not an easy label to throw in my direction.

Priax

Part of this ongoing problem with this so-called liquid life is that we are not offering classes to educate our children committed to the concepts of responsible Internet usage. Parents nowadays are catching up to their kids' knowledge of the Internet. We need to start educating our kids and parents about the dangers of technology and Internet addiction/withdrawl. Priax IN, age 23.

Abe

I think that a lot of what this article is addressing has to do with a more broad concept/idea. The concept I am referring to is that of control. Liquid Life allows for a false sense of control. In games such as: W.O.W. people are allowed to control individuals. On a social network as that of myspace, people have more control over how they present themselves to others. I think that this only furthers to show the intense desire that people have to be in control of something within their life. Technology is just the vehicle by which this is more readily seen.

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.

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