Tweetage Wasteland: You Can't Turn Off The Machine

Last December I paid Dave Pell a compliment on Twitter and he replied “Learning a lot from your blog.” I thought, “Uh oh, which blog?” and asked him as much in a direct message. Twitter gave way to email and he asked if he could use material from my post “The Infinitely Connected Triggers of Her Memory and the Dumb Machines of the Technopathocracy.” Dave starts his piece:

I think about a lot of things before I share online. But here’s one thing I never think about:

The unthinkable.

Dave is an amazing writer already featured on NPR (among others), and the things he wrote around the context of my post were both sensitive and thought provoking (dead link).

Daniel can’t escape his own digital trail. Yet he returns to the internet to add to it. He is using the machine to express his frustration that the machine won’t leave him alone. The same technology that haunts him also provides a way to mourn and remember.

…The acts of communication, sharing and remembering online are similar to their counterparts in our offline lives, but they’re not the same.

…We haven’t had a chance to reflect on the role this technology is playing in our lives.

This is all a subject matter I’ve been interested in for a long time. In my original post I use the term technopathology, a term I first encountered in the Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey) video I included in this post (he coined the term). I’ve been a long-time fan of Wilson’s writings (ask anyone who’s been around when I start referencing his essay on Immediatism) but I’m not as radical in my rejection of technologies as he. As Dave says, this is the world we live in–and I read that a little more literally as a technologist who makes his living (and spends most of his time, besides) in front of just such a machine. But to think about this system as “the rule of sick machines” is helpful when trying to diagnose these illnesses we’ve developed due to our unblinking acceptance of various technologies into our lives.

I wrote about this topic years ago for Movement magazine in the UK:

“I’m not really so lapsarian. Like Doctorow and Sterling, I believe more in a singularity than an apocalypse.

“ allows a boolean-packet level quantification of not new behaviors, but ways-of-being that predate history. A simple way to explore what the web was really teaching us was to imagine a world born with that knowledge but devoid of the cognition-obliterating information overload that the tools engender. What kind of slow death constraints would bring focus to the real breakthroughs of modern life? A web without servers? Markets without cash or stocks? A regression, sure, but not a dark ages. An enlightened regression.”

From 2008’s The Antipocalypse: Documentation, the last of the three-part Antipocalypse series. If you have an interest in clicking through, you might start with Part 1 and Part 1.1. So nerdy with my numbering.

Incidentally, stupid technical bullshit has eaten my day today: Carissa is adjusting to her new Mac and reminding me how much Finder sucks and how keyboard-inaccessible Mac dialogs are. I accidentally re-created as an empty website, not a huge loss these days---I had it recreated in a few minutes--but what a bonehead move. Even Markdown is giving me trouble with some quotes in this post and I had to hand-encode them. It’s like the machine knows I'm talking shit about it and is being passive-aggressive in return.

Previous: Dreams

Archives | RSS