MC Escher’s lithograph , Drawing Hands depicts the possibility of an impossible reality; perfectly! And we’re able to appreciate it, in the most thoughtful way.
Technology is like that, we ask “Why?” and then we think, “Why not?”
There’s the absurdity of it; our imaginations gone wild and then the calming effects of reasonable ideas that we can begin to resolve. And just like that, we’re onto something! And we’re often quite successful, especially when we get approval, that proverbial pat on the back.
It’s exactly what makes us human, this thinking and imagining, as if it were our job. Maybe it is! That is, we’re here to think of ways to improve our lot in life: to think outside the box, while we are seated inside it, much like a hand drawing a hand.
iPad, iPod and iTouch technology began and perfected the use of a finger. Not a hand, not the collective use of the hand, but a single finger swipe across a touch screen. That’s it, it reduced the whole world to a screen and made it accessible by using one’s fingertips. From music, to data to games, all done in solitude and contrary to our social selves.
I miss traditional board games that we played on the floor, or on wooden tables. We use to play chess, and Monopoly, and have a strategy that we could admire in one another. Even if we didn’t always have enough time to finish it, we started it together. And truth is, I enjoyed setting up the game, unfolding the board and pressing the center crease, so it would lay flat. I especially enjoyed the confusion of who would get the use of which token, I was partial to the car. We all were.
And I miss buying property, lining up my cards in a color coded arrangement and collecting rent on the next toss of the dice. Trading, purchasing and monopolizing imaginary property, where business as usual meant selling and buying at stable prices. And the mixture of beverages and snacks included a promissory note, that we would still be friends tomorrow.
It taught us how to live life, moments of encouragement, prosperity and despair. In my world, where no one had real property anyway it was nice to collect the rent. I learnt how to count play money for real. And just as importantly, the value of the game itself, the work ethic to not quit and to play fair and to wait patiently for your turn. Games are like that, when they’re played in a group setting and teaching you that you can win. Not so much when you’re finger swiping in the bathroom.
And then there’s the music. I love music, but it’s awfully hard to be engaged in a conversation with you when I’m listening to music, while playing a game, with ear buds plugged in my ears. Not to worry, later on we’ll both post our updated status on Facebook and like it with a finger swipe.
We’ll get our world news there as well– wrongs against human rights, global warming and culture wars. We’ll watch videos, read memes and send instant messages, the new chit-chat.
Ah, social reform because come to think of it, social media has given us a great place to check out what’s going on and made it easy to turn off. Apathy that tricky by-product of capitalism, often experienced when technology is earmarked to consumers who no longer use their hands to clap… I suppose we’re all too busy with finger swipes.