Looking at the Age of Scrap

Static. Static. Beeeeeeeeeeeep. I interrupt your normal programming for this rant brought to you by the letter Q and viewers like you.

After doing some thinking on my own after my Family trip (which was refreshing as hell) I’ve regrettably reacquainted myself with the Internet. Not the actual systems thing, but the culture of limitless information and useless junk thing. Ran gets it right when he says we’re now entering the Age of Scrap. Of course he’s talking about the fall of industrial complexity and technological revolution, but we’re also living in postmodern times where a lot of “it” – stories, achievements, movies, plays, novels, songs, pictures, food – have already been done and now we’re looking at new ways of doing the old, making cars and boats out of pop cans and murals out of shopping bags. You know what I mean. That Green movement. But sadly, ending our destructive reign on the planet is not so easy as tweaking our actions, it’s also going to take a serious overhaul of our cultural understanding (or lack thereof) with which we make our choices; our values determine our actions.

And values we are lacking. Facebook and Twitter flutter with gossip, FML, and hash tags for look-at-me-I’m-so-important. Social media (noise) is a multi-million, multi-billion dolllar industry. Big business dollars litter cyberspace, floating their ads in every direction and suddenly gravity is a great, grounding gift. And so us peasants escape into the celebrity machine, feeding on the latest details of someone’s life and leaving a trail of our own baits and lures to capture everyone’s attention.

But no I will not look at you. Thankfully there are ignore friend requests in Facebook and ways I can gladly “deny” your existence in my online social media accounts. So I can go soak up the sun in the park and explore the mountains in my backyard.

But seriously, I’m disgusted with this internet narcissism. It perpetuates a careless culture that would rather make remixed YouTube videos of some person’s oh-so unfortunately-timed moment of weakness than make a pass for real socialization in our day and age. The way we interact on a daily basis has become so sterile and convenient and repetitive and pointless and automatic that we consider logging into a website ten times a day (twenty if you’re at work) and browsing people’s statuses as “keeping in touch.” But that’s a lie; the truth is we’re out of touch.

I read somewhere that watching the new 3D televisions atrophies depth perception. That’s Mother Nature’s irony at its best: that our love and fascination with our enhancement of reality – that is, our technological obsession with making the virtual even more “real” (which is just a substitute word for “enjoyable,” “painless,” and “easy”) – leads us to lose the very ability to appreciate the everyday and ordinary, which is no less magical than meteor showers, city walks filled with the fragances of world cultures, meadows of blooming flowers, and babies being born…OK I’m getting a little carried away but you get the message: there is a curtain to our reality that when we peer behind it, we enter the world again for the first time and see new things. So, excuse me while I make observations about the trash in our cybersphere. I’m thinking of what I can make with it.