Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The More Things Change...

I'm getting old and slow or maybe I don't care as much because it took me all day of watching Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do movies and weed whacking the sidewalk to come up with something to write about. No, I'm not going to bore you with how the Koala bear is endangered in Queensland, Australia because their gum trees are becoming suburbs for growing numbers of electrical engineers. I'll keep it simple...yes, the internet is rotting the brains of children. Twitter et all is changing the way kids think and communicate and it's not an improvement but it's an advance. Maybe that's not a simple concept but I'm sticking to it.
Advances in cars and computers and such are measured in repetitious factors that have us thinking and acting more like computers. If the goal is to communicate where you are then someone who can communicate more accurately and quicker is better. If you don't have to stop for directions then that is better. You aren't like Oggy wandering like a wind blown leaf across the country. You are actually trying to go from A-B. So who cares what lies in between? That's the mind of a computer and navigation systems eliminate all the shades of wrong and lost in the daily trials of the modern traveler. Like telegraphs and steam engines before us the only moral question that was asked is, "Can we build it?" Once built, the need for it arose. It replaced something. In 1860 the C&O canal system around Washington DC used mules to pull canal boats along the water. A mule is a cross between a female horse and a male donkey. The mule doesn't really care what his blood line involves. He's neither horse nor donkey. He's a mule. Is he an improvement over a horse? The canal boat thinks so.

Computers are standardizing humanity because the more computers are used, the more we have to act and interact with computers. Computers deliver this message to you because I have abandoned face to face communication. And my attempts to write poetry are thwarted by the pulverizing lcd screen. Computers demand mechanical thinking and the theory is that computers will do more work for us and we will do less work. That of course is a fallacy of high comedy. Laughably untrue. Go ask the pizza maker or the man who gathers lettuce. Do they work less for higher wages now that computers rule the world? Hahaha. Go ask the Guatemalan coffee farmer. His life must be immensely better now that you can order Starbucks coffee from your mobile phone en route to the store and it will be ready for you when you get there and you can pre pay with a digital debit card. The Guatemalan coffee farmer must be in love with computers, right? He must get so much time off!! Of course that isn't true. When I was assembling bicycles at Target for my Christmas present I had to assemble a bike from a closed box to finished in 9 minutes or less. I met a few career bicycle builders who drove around building bicycles all year. I always wonder where the time went that they were supposedly saving with the computers in their life? Somehow it evaporated and they still spent 6 days a week 55 hours a week building 500+ bicycles for years and years. I scratch my head because the computers were supposed to save time but if you are still spending 55 hours building bicycles then it didn't save you any time. It increased your productivity, yes, but that's not the same thing. Not unless God is keeping some record book of how many bikes you build in a day. See, that's the fallacy; computers save time. They don't save time. They increase productivity. Take the water canal...it took 22 years to build the C&O canal. Men working on it still worked 12 hours a day. Now, 150 years later, with gas engines and computers, if we wanted to build another canal men would still have to work 12 hours a day. But they would finish it sooner...BUT THEY WOULD BE ORDERED TO BUILD ANOTHER CANAL. See? Productivity increases and the person doing the work still spends his life building bikes or canals or gathering lettuce or picking coffee. More is accomplished today but since there are 7 billion people now MORE IS REQUIRED. It's a wash and I'm convinced that it will always be a wash. Production will never exceed demand....because that would devalue the product....and it might actually lead to someone having some saved time.
Someone stop me if Chairman Mao or Karl Marx has already pointed out fundamental flaws in the principles of technological advances. It's like the flawed promise of manufacturing: population will always push the demands of production to the point that the manufacturer becomes so undervalued (See Shenzhen Province/foxconn) that the manufacturer has no bargaining power. And that starts a chain reaction where the demand for manufacturers is outpaced by population growth. Manufacturers are both in demand, and disposable and replaceable, and quickly replaced. With 300 million scabs, the union will always be broken by the boss...because they control the means of production, and production is demanded because the population depends on it, and because the population has no balance then we basically give birth to our own downfall.

This would all be academic EXCEPT FOR THE FACT WE LIVE ON A FINITE PLANET. Anyone know the number of televisions and CRT monitors that become obsolete junk every week? No, of course you don't because you're too busy assembling the replacement LCD monitors and smartphones. It's only lead poisoning in the oceans. Who cares? Well, to make it easy to understand (or ignore) we humans are using the resources found on 2 planet Earths. But wait, there's only one earth. Yeah, that's the problem. So what happens is the people who can hide debt the best will eat while cash only societies decay and die.

I don't see an actual solution to this problem. Any population swells to the limits of the habitat and then naturally reduces...and swells again...and shrinks again. Over and over until a comet hits the habitat and changes the rules of the game completely or else the habitat is depleted. This has happened countless times on a small stage with humans and since there is still some room left on North America I don't think I'll see the limits reached. I see the Koala bear as collateral damage in the war against low tech, simple, accountable living. Like children who relate to humans instead of computers are victims of the same war. It will take an ocean of Lithium and Ritalin to get every kid to think like a computer and all the evidence points to pharmaceutical companies doing everything they can to diagnose every kid with ADHD. And maybe that's a good thing if it helps them interact with computers better. It would be wrong to handicap a kid by asking him to relate more to humans and stop taking ritalin. The world is going in that direction, the people have spoken and the language is html and Lithium. All the pretzel logic in the world somehow neglects the gray wolf and the Koala bear. They are eradicated not from malice, but from collective apathy. It takes too much investigation to learn about the true consequences of our actions and since we've saved no time with our computers we have no time to look into it. The Guatemalan coffee farmers don't concern us beyond the cup of coffee we drink. A computer only cares about the immediate data before it so in that respect we've already become a hybrid...like a mule. Part Human and part computer. Manputer. Now I'm sounding like those conspiracy nuts on Youtube.

01110111 01101111 01110010 01101100 01100100 00100000 01110000 01100101 01100001 01100011 01100101 = "World Peace" in Binary.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.