Life imitates art, or does art imitate life?
You all may have read that I love watching the Outer Limits and other science fiction. The original series had very little special effects so the writing, acting and directing had to pull you, the viewer, into the story. Sometimes, if you looked close, you could see the zipper in the alien suit or where the glue holds the foam on the face of the actor. One of the reasons I enjoyed the show is that man himself was the true enemy. Mans greed or fear or hate was usually the real true enemy.
In the 1980’s, the Outer Limits returned to the television screen with pretty much the same premise only with better special effects. One such episode was called ‘The Haven’. Season 5 episode 15. The premise was that an apartment building was fully automated so that people could live in single occupant apartments without any interaction with people. Think about it, people becoming so reliant on modern technology that people don’t interact with each other.
(I remember when the Sony Walkman first come out, thinking people were ignoring others with their earphones on listening to music on their Personal Sony Walkmans.)
Couple that with a more modern movie with Bruce Willis called ‘Surrogates’. In this movie, people stay in their homes, hooked up to personal remote controlled robots for their safety. They experience life thru their robotic ‘surrogates’ in order to stay safe from the dangers of life. Again, people forgoing personal interaction for experiencing life thru technology.
My High School class in American history taught me a Benjamin Franklin quote that goes “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Life is to be experienced. Like the Roman poet said ‘Carpe Diem’ which wikipedia translates: ‘Carpe is the second-person singular present active imperative of carpō “pick or pluck” used by Horace to mean “enjoy, seize, use, make use of”. Diem is the accusative case of the noun dies “day”. A more literal translation of “carpe diem” would thus be “pluck the day [as it is ripe]”—i.e., enjoy the moment.’
John Donne wrote in a poem entitled Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, written in 1624 that ‘No man is an island’.
What happens to a person when he or she interacts with others thru technology? What happens when we become so dependant on that technology, that we loose touch in our humanity? Like the movie I mentioned in a previous post called ‘West World’ where, again, people became reliant on technology.
In the Outer Limits episode ‘The Haven’, it was technology itself that realised that to save humanity, it meaning technology, had to die. In ‘Surrogates’, it was Bruce Willis’ character that realised technology had to be destroyed to save humanity. In ‘Westworld’, it was technology that destroyed humanity in the amusement park.
And look at todays technology. Smart phones, computer tablets, smart watches, GPS chips in cars and RFID chips in our credit cards. Our government has a fleet of drones and there are digital cameras that watch our every move and report it to a government agency called the NSA. (Much like in the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell) Japan is working on robotics and the sex industry has made realistic, life sized dolls of silicon for those people that, well, (cough) you can guess what they are used for. More and more people use debit cards and credit cards than cash and our government encourages it. I have watched people walking absent mindedly while texting or reading emails or watching movies on their smart phones. I have even watched youtube videos of people falling and bumping into things while watching those smart phones.
Do you let technology control you or do you control technology. Technology should be a servant of man, not something that controls us. So, what does the future hold for humanity? Is there a future for us? The future of humanity rests in the hands of a Jewish carpenter that lived a long time ago, yet lives still.