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Technology is Human

by Tony Creech on Friday, August 26, 2011

                                                                                           

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THE CREECH LEAGUE

A Weekly Column on Technology & Media

Also appearing in the Moose Jaw Times-Hearld[/box_dark]

 

 

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou shouldn’t pay attention to technology. In fact, forget I brought it up. The best thing you could possibly do is to find a soft bit of sand and stuff your head in as deep as you can . . . after you check your Facebook.

Or not.[pullquote_right]To blame the tool for all our faults, is to toss the robot out with the dead batteries, and maybe to miss out on one of the most important parts of being human.[/pullquote_right]

 

 

Why the sarcasm? It’s simple. We, as modern/post-moderns have a love/hate relationship with technology and media. Except for the few true geeks for every hundred people, we all complain about technology as much as we gaze at it in awe. Even the complete tech-heads sit around complaining and arguing about it.

The reasons for our love/hates in life get more tangled the higher they’re piled. I try to keep in mind how our humanness shapes our perspective on things. For instance, when we talk about technology we are often saying a whole lot about ourselves; how confident, lazy or empty we might feel. Technology — like our friends — can be our scapegoat for personal failings. I’m sure you’ve heard someone rant about Facebook wasting their time, when really they’re just ducking the blame themself. We cast guilt where we can, be it our cellphones for bothering us, our TV for distracting us or the Internet for making us dumb.

The way we view and speak of technology is partly self-projection, and completely relative. Define technology right now and your answer is on a whole other map from what ‘technology’ meant when we were still painting cave walls. That was technology back then, and I wonder if someone ever got in trouble for writing on cave walls all day, or if it was more rare and ceremonial, like a space shuttle launch.

The reason you can’t put your noggin in the sand about technology is that you just can’t. Even my Amish friend Adam doesn’t deny that if you go back far enough in time (and not even very far) he’d be the most techie dude on the prairies.

Being people of 2011, we come at technology in a different way than our forebears. We’re stuck in an ocean of rapid innovations, treading water when it’s never been deeper. In this column we’ll journey a bit on the sea of technology and media.

For my part, I’m young enough to want change in the world, and old enough to be cynical about the whole endeavor. I’m no tech-wizard, but I’ve ruined a perfectly good group-outing or two by talking-tech.

You’ll hear more about me later. For now, here’s the first secret from behind the veil of nerdery: technology doesn’t exist as a third thing, separate from humanity and meatballs. Technology is rooted to our deepest drives. We long to accomplish, to impress, to connect, to create, to see results and to improve life. No ‘technopoly’ exists, where we seek satisfaction in tech alone. All those things that beep to be paid attention to are created, used, and imagined on completely human terms.

Paying attention to how the tools we shape have a power to return the favor is a consuming passion of mine. But, in the wake of investigation, it’s easy to miss the inherent humanity of technology. To blame the tool for all our faults, is to toss the robot out with the dead batteries, and maybe to miss out on one of the most important parts of being human.

In grade school, teaching about the oldest of civilizations, Mrs. Snell called it “making and using tools.” It appears we’ve never been without it. I can’t think we ever will be.

 

Now, go check your email or something.

Tony Creech
anthony thomas creech is Founder of Citadel Magazine. He's a marketing executive, filmmaker, screenwriter, columnist, and university lecturer on film, audio, media, and faith. You can find him at thecreechleague.com

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