Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Muse with yesterday's NPR poet of the news

At last the Internet is before my eye,
the actual world merely the consequence
of the search terms I supply.

Looking up, I see information in the sky:
not just birds but related stories and comments
from readers of the Internet before my eye . . ..

Above are the first two stanzas of Craig M. Teicher' poem "Through The Google Glasses: A Villanelle,"  a response to the proposed Google computer screen to be worn as eye glasses.  The idea of wearing such a shield reminds me of Oscar Wilde's famous proclamation that "life copies art" and also brings to mind the overused response to travel and special events from participants in the marijuana generation, "I don't remember; I was high."  I wish the people I see in my daily outings were simply where they were and not attached by electronics or by drugs to elsewhere.  

I wonder how Google's new product and mobile electronics as used in developed countries is influencing creativity and especially literature.  William Shakespeare and August Wilson and other playwrights who were simply where they stood had no trouble seeing "the particular" against the background of greater events and all of history and the universe.  Will those attached to elsewhere be able to place their virtual location amid a steady attachment to their present location as well as to larger locations and philosophies?  Will they have authority, or forever be part of a viral reality of tweets and emails?

The new science fiction represented in such films as Inception predict a dire connection between corporate economics and technologies cut loose from an old house or an original place of origin.  Art as representation leaves the moment of the phenomenal and enters a world of melting boundaries.  Essence proceeds existence but neither truly matters at all.  Paradoxically, the individual character becomes amazingly important as he/she/it struggles to matter.  Does his, her, or its "aura," exist in the universe at all?  Does the universe . . . ?  Had I not completed my undergraduate philosophy major in the 1970s, I might know the terms for discussing post-existential, post-phenomenal, post-post-modernism.  

Meanwhile, I see immersion in technologies as a double-edged sword: One Side has us making cutting-edge combinations of ideas and joining creative collaborations of people not otherwise possible.  The Other Side cuts us off from the environments that need our stewardship, nurture and awareness in order to sustain human life. Together, in the double-edged sword, they are addictive like psychedelic drugs and music.  "Do you remember?" we might ask. "I don't," comes the answer.  "I was connected."


Eric Chast said...

I'm very interested in a theme you've found with the way technology is affection our interactions with each other and to our environment. You're spot-on when you identify that this has an increasing prevalence in younger generations.

However I'm not 100% sure that the changing cultural norms will lead to a lack of awareness, simply a redirection of people's awareness. If your point is that a person will feel less connected to the physical world, a agree completely. But as far as making observations about the world as they know it, and being able to do so in a profound and poetic manner, I believe their abilities will be unchanged. I don't think Inception or The Matrix have to be interpreted as dire warnings alone, but an incorporation of new technologies into old fears about the world around us.

Great philosophers feared about how much they could really know to be true. "I think, therefore I am" is a famous quote meaning that we can only know ourselves to exist. Even objects in nature or of furniture have been questioned in the past, such as Aristotle's discussion of a chair, and his conclusion that a chair cannot exist in its perfect form in the real world, because no two are the same, simply an interpretation by its maker of a greater, hypothetical chair. So perhaps when looking forward if you fear a disconnect for the next generations, you can take comfort in knowing that some of the wisest people on earth have questioned reality so profoundly with questions so basic, that when they are applied again to our new world, a spark of philosophical creativity will bring us full-circle, back to nature again.

Susan said...

Bless you, I hope so. Not everyone was high back in the day, and not everyone is addicted to music today. But I do think my last two lines draw an amusing parallel, circle appropriately back to the introduction, and function as the ironic touchstone in this satire. BTW, since I do not mention age or generations, aren't you reacting a bit defensively?