While waiting for the bus this morning, I had an interesting discussion with a neighbour. Recently giving birth to her first child, her concerns now extend beyond herself and her husband, not that she gave no thought to them before; but now she has something to focus on--his name is Matthew.
She works for the government, and has a backround in society studies--a coinage on my part, but I'm not entirely sure what specific discipline she majored in. Good enough!
We started with our usual banter about the bus being late--it usually is. We proceeded to a discussion of the changing seasons--how did they decide when spring is? So we talked about the vernal equinox. Then we got to time, and I mentioned the tweak that is done to Greenwich Time to make it not only universal time, but universal time coordinated--our own Everything server time. I observed this is just the mind imposing its abstractions upon what we can see, hear, and feel.
This brought us to the not novel observation that technology erases time and space, as any even newbie on E2 knows full well.
Which brought us to what technology is doing to our lives--the imposition of mind upon the natural in us. We agreed it is like a wringer, squeezing out the very stuff of our existence. I opined this has become so much more evident in the short time I have been on earth--50 years this year, by the way. She said we are only finite beings, with which I emphatically agree, and that we can only take so much before we rebel, though I don't remember if that is the exact word she used--but that is what she meant.
To which I responded "You are speaking of a revolution!" She wasn't sure she liked that characterization, but of what else is she speaking? She simply feels the technology used by the corporate entities dominating our lives leaves us less and less in our lives. But isn't that a revolutionary insight?
We see the breakdowns all around us, and America has the most dramatic--the school shootings, the post office shootings, the day trader shootings--though Canada, even Ottawa is not immune--the shooting at the transit headquarters here a few years ago.
What is the possibility of revolution? What is the possibility of channelling the basic human need for something other than work?
Forty-odd years ago the hippies, and those who inspired and were inspired by them, had hopes of something better--but we see the results around us. One hundred and fifty years ago there was revolution in Europe--were the results much different? Almost fifty years before were the rebellions called luddite, and the receeding waves after. Then were the foundations laid for the reaction that has gained power and force ever since.
The human mind, not to mention imagination, is malleable; its very form, as well as contents is shaped, if not perverted by the intellectual, and emotional climate surrounding it.
The powers that be, that have grown strong since the industrial revolution--which was more than just a revolution in industrial relations--is the fabric of our very existence. And for there to be a revolution to save the Matthews of this world, if not ourselves, so many of us will have to step out into the frigid winds, without the garments capitalism has woven for us.
Some good reading in this area:
David F. Noble
Progress Without People
New Technology, Unemployment and the Message of Resistance
Published by between the lines in 1995
David F. Noble
America By Design
Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism
Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1997