Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The First Technology

So the question was, as best as I recall, how much technology do we use and/or think about in a day, an hour, or a minute. As my group partner and I sat down and began to meditate upon our assignment we were naturally, first, drawn to the key word of the sentence: Technology. I grabbed my notebook and my pen: there: a fresh new lined page with powder blue lines and page ends that somebody must have designed and decided. It is funny how some of us will look at this piece of paper, already printed on – already imprinted, and connect it to themes of blank slates and empty rooms, white pure and untouched. But that is for another post, another recording of thought.

We attempt to fit technology into the ‘three adjective game’ as if it is a freshman in their first discussion. We come up with phrases (because a single word is too constricting – the space between words is sometimes necessary (you may find things to seep between the white pixels into meaning) to incur compactness) such as “advanced system”, “advancing existing systems“, “expedites”, “efficiency”, “repeatable efficiency”, “repetitive efficiency?”, “accessibility”. They are all descriptive.

We seize upon “accessibility”; perhaps it is due to the mobile devices we have, always hovering around our persons. Is it, AT&T?, who has the slogan (or at least, advertising tag line) “every second counts”? We discussed the dimensions of “accessibility” and came up with Time. High speed internet is the standard speed at which we expect the cyber databases to spew out the answers to our queries. Whether something is “accessible” or not means, at least in this generation, the speed at which our thought, our will, can be translated into action. I want to know what the weather will be like today. Well, the accessibility of that information is significantly increased by my having an app like Weather.com on my phone, on my bedside table. Technology is a tool which we expect will more speedily, and thus more directly, translate our directed consciousness into a physical actualization.

We also came up with the concept of “Space”. Mobile devices are made so as to retain optimum portability. Cellphones and music devices, ideally – at least according to myself – fit pockets, laptops fit backpacks. I want to know the temperature outside: technology presents a more immediate solution by offering the option to check my phone rather than to step outside. The space that a mobile device occupies is credit to its “accessibility”. It allows for a more direct realization of a thought.

We discoursed at length about the aspects of Space and Time in “accessibility” and then began to retrace our steps back to the original keyword: technology. We found the word “tool” at some point back along this path and latched onto it.

In order to dissect the purpose of a tool beyond its specific context let us invoke a rather rudimentary image. A stone used to crack open a nut, say a coconut. This is a tool. It is helping the crude image of a man to simply bash the sharp edge of the rock against the tough coconut shell. Why? It is because he desires the fruit of the coconut. The sharp rock, then, is the physical vessel he uses to translate his wish, his idea, into a reality. Fast forward many thousands of years into this instant where you may or may not be scrolling down with your cursor searching for the right bottom corner hand side of the page (or you may be tapping the down button on the keyboard) in order to continue your experience of reading. Is not the cursor ultimately following your mental decision?

It seems then that technology is a tool which, in turn, is a vessel for a conscious purpose. Well, the question was answered sufficiently for us then. How much do we think about technology? We cannot help but defy that question. We instead come to the conclusion that our minds, the receptacle for yet unmanifested ideas and intentions, must be the forefather and therefore the essence of technology itself. We hone and develop this tool for optimum speed, fill it with revised points of reference so that the information is ‘close at hand’. What, if not our very beings are the most capable of providing the most appropriate “accessibility” to any and all of our musings and meditations? We cannot discontinue ourselves from the progeny of our imaginations because our imaginings also must be a definition of ourselves. The first technology, is the skill of thinking. I hope you all have had a technological experience.

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