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