In my previous post I expressed my concern about the accelerating rate of change – especially with respect to technology – and it’s impact on our sense of wonder and appreciation. Having thought about it some more I feel that I must balance this out or failing that, at least place my view in the correct perspective. There is always more than one way to look at the world.
When I look at a thing or a person or a situation I try to remind myself that what I am seeing is not the thing/person/situation but rather my knowledge of it. I consider this an important distinction.
What I wrote in my previous post may have left an impression that I see the rate at which technology is evolving as somehow bad; that it comes at a price, that what might be gained on one side of the equation causes something to be lost on the other. My analysis of the situation – simplistic as it was – is a fragment of a much bigger picture; just as a photo is limited by its frame thus becoming a fragment of a scene rather than a complete picture. Any analytical thought which I apply to the matter of technological change is in fact applied to my experience of it, and my experience, being limited by definition, ensures that my analysis is merely a framed snapshot of what it is. And just like the photo above, it omits far more than it includes.
The reality is that when something is lost something is also created. In other words it’s not a matter of loss and gain but rather one of transformation. All of it is part of a birth and death cycle that is neither good or bad; it just is. Any judgement of good or bad is merely a thought; nothing more.
When I wrote about the loss of wonder and appreciation, I did so from a perspective that was all my own. It was based on my understanding of wonder, my understanding of appreciation and my experiences that for the most part belonged to an age where change happened at a relatively slower pace. As such, I need to look beyond that limited viewpoint. I need to look up from the viewfinder that is my experience and see what’s beyond my frame. Sadly, this is a difficult task because all I am likely to achieve, is simply enlarge the frame a little by zooming out. And should I ever be so lucky as to see a big picture, can I ever be sure that what I see beyond the original frame isn’t just a fabrication of my own imagination?
Still, simply understanding the limitations imposed by my point of view will hopefully go some way in creating some small amount of objectivity. Or failing that, some small amount of open-mindedness.
When I try to look beyond my frame of experience by, for example, looking into my children’s points of view – different frames, different limitations – I see that perhaps wonder and appreciation aren’t being lost but redirected. From my children’s younger, less skeptical perspectives there seems to be a number of growing movements working at simplifying and minimilising various aspects of life by building smaller homes, living more efficiently, pursuing quality over quantity, expressing ideas in innovative and creative ways and so on. Instead of relying on comic idiocy or vulgarity or cute animals, there are people who are using technology to create not only works of beauty but works of wonder and meaning as well. There is a lot going on out there that the news media is not even remotely interested in reporting. That’s a shame.
Of course this view is just an alternate picture within a different frame. Any sense of hope it may portray is not more or less real than the concern I raised in my previous post. It’s just another view, another perspective, another way to look at the world.
What I am really wanting to say in this post is: There is what I think I know and there is what I know I don’t, which leads me to suspect that I don’t know s**t.
I don’t see reality, I only see my knowledge of it.
And I’m looking through a very small viewfinder.