Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To laziness and beyond

One of the biggest paradoxes in life is us humans working to hard to make ourselves even lazier. Think about it. This greater species, the superior homosapien, that we so proudly call ourselves, cannot spend that ounce of energy to walk to the television to turn it off. Instead, the genius that is our neuro-charged brain cured us of this terrible inconvenience, allowing us to continue couching like limp sacks of potatoes, mouth gaping at the world through a small pixelated window which we gladly flip through with yes, the remote control. Simple yet ingenious. We think so hard to invent such gadgets to make life easier so that we can indulge in such laziness.

Every great invention is a departure from seemingly unnecessary physical exertion. The telephone and the wheel for example tie for first place in my opinion. It is fascinating, even up till today when the handphone or mobile is a necessity, that the human mind managed against all odds to conjure such a then-complicated piece of gadgetry. Granted, Alexander Graham Bell is one of the gifted minds that humanity sees once in a blue moon which explains the brilliance of his invention, the clarity of his thought processes and the eventual physical manifestation of his imagination. Credit the inventor we must but hey, the telephone would be nowhere if others had not improved on it. Same with all the contemporary 'inventions', except today, we call them technological breakthroughs.

The telephone brought the world to the ear, just as television brought the wondrous world to the eye. Facebook has made stalking and network building easier and possible. In such a connected world, sincerity is harder and harder to locate. Birthday reminders are pushed to us, edms substitute for actual greetings and emoticons convey things which we would otherwise not be able to express across space and time. Personally, I felt these ways of keeping in touch were insincere and a lazy way out of things. Recently, as things get mad busy, it seems like it's the only logical way to actually stay sociable whilst going on with the daily motions of life and chasing dreams, achievable or not. 

Before this becomes another technologically deterministic post that never ends, the bottomline is moderation. As is the case with everything from food to exercise to all other indulgences. My super late adoption to Facebook was not (contrary to popular belief) a non-conformist statement, it was more of an attempt to not indulge in technology and its affordances. Just a personal experiment that inevitably ended with subscription to the ubiquitous platform. True enough, it didn't kill me nor my social life. I was just a little slow on the uptake when it came to photo viewing; the exasperated laments, "aiya, you don't have Facebook" were actually quite amusing (sorry friends).   

It's been along time since I had the chance to properly sit (or lie) down and think through something that is overlooked, not through any fault of our own. We're just conditioned to think in a certain way about technology and progress. Technology is just like fashion; ever-changing, having to keep up with the trends, predicting the next big thing, creating sleek and stylish accompaniments for the modern individual, creative allowance within limits and so on. Food for thought. 


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