Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Used to Wait

Until our most recent blip on the timeline, distances separated us farther and communication was drastically slower.

This slowness meant waiting.

Waiting gave hope.

Waiting gave time for healing, when hopes are left unfulfilled.

"It seems strange
How we used to wait for letters to arrive
But what's stranger still
Is how something so small can keep you alive"

"Ooooo we used to wait
Sometimes it never came
Ooooo we used to wait
Still moving through the pain"
In the digital age there is no waiting.

There is no hopeful anticipation.

There is no reflection.

There is no time for healing.

There is no process.

"Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last" 
It's enough to put the modern man in a state of psychosis.
"Now we're screaming"

Is what we are running towards worth the sacrifices of what we're leaving behind?

The quotations are from "We Used to Wait" by the Arcade Fire. The Suburbs was easily my favorite album of 2010. I have listened to the entire album no fewer then 40 times in the last year (according to my iTunes).

The video is an interactive film that you can experience yourself at  


Anna said...

Haha. It's all a trick just so Google can gather even *more* information about us (home address). ;)

Seriously, I don't feel like I have a shortage of things in my life that I'm waiting for, just because of the internet.

DK said...

You don't feel like you have a shortage of things you are waiting for... in contrast to what?

These feelings are relative. Our threshold for patience shrinks to whatever our context is.

When communication is so easy and instant (in drastic contrast to even 50 years ago) it changes how we relate and process change. The question is concerning the human condition. Are we capable of existing (in a full and healthy manner) without this time.

Is the increasingly instant nature of... everything... in the digital age better for us? Or Is it exceeding our capacity to live full and healthy lives?

Anna said...

We still have things we have to wait for; we still have to learn patience, and hope and everything else. None of that has changed just because some things are speeded up by the internet.

I'm not saying that the digital age has no downsides, but I just don't think things are as different as you portray, in the cosmic scheme of human interactions.

Our ability to lead full and healthy lives has always - and always will be - limited by sin. Does the digital age increase sin? It may increase certain kinds of sin, but I don't know that it increases sin over all.

DK said...

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the "end goal" of technology.

The current philosophy that is guiding our adoption of technology is "if we can, we should". It's a free market right? The consumer is responsible enough to choose we to adopt and what to reject....right?

I don't see wisdom in that. In fact, I see a lot of risk in sin using technology as a wedge to undermine our ability to live full lives.

My worry is that our technological limit is start to exceed our human limits and the end result will not be pretty.

The underlying message of many of my posts as of late (and many more to come) are simply advocating that we think about and question the path that our technology is guiding us on.

Until we question it, we are following, not leading.

Anna said...

What do you mean by saying that our technological advances may exceed our human limit? That's... vague. Do you have any specific examples of what you are thinking of, or is this all just abstract speculation?

DK said...

The way that humans relate to the world are limited by certain mental, emotional, spiritual constraints.

Technology disrupts our existence, resulting in certain attributes of the human condition languish, have no outlet for expression, while others are over taxed.

As far as I know we are not (as a society) thinking about our selection of technology in order to maintain a healthy balance.

The scary part is that much of technology adoption is driven by it's appeals to our weaknesses and comforts. But so much growth, fullness, and vitality in life requires facing our weaknesses and enduring discomfort.

This is where I do believe sin can and will use technology as a wedge to undermine the lives of individuals and society.

I know I'm still talking very philosophical/theoretical. Some cliche examples that demonstrate this are television and social networking on the internet (and internet in general for that matter).

In both of these you can see the disruption, the negative impact on the human condition, and the appeals to our weaknesses and comforts.

Technology's main drive is to give humans the path of least resistance, but I'm not convinced that is the best path for the human condition.

Anna said...

And you think, what? The solution is to get rid of our TVs and Facebook?

DK said...

Absolutely not.

Technology is not the problem. Our sin is the problem, which muddies our reality and self awareness of what it means to live abundantly as humans.

As I said earlier; Until we question it, we are following, not leading.

I don't think everyone, or even the majority needs to question. But, at this point, I have a hard time finding anyone who is.

DK said...

I've already been through my luddite phase... :)

Anna said...

Huh. I suppose I'm not having a hard time finding people who question their TV and Internet usage.

DK said...

I did say that TV and internet example are cliche... which implies that lots of people are talking about them.

In both of those cases there are obvious dangers have been made mainstream which helps override their allure.

I'm wanting to tackle this on a much deeper level. Developing a framework for how to evaluate technologies role in our lifes.

How do define, evaluate, and relate to technology? Instead of blindly following it's lead until hopefully we realize we should do different when things go horribly wrong.

Anna said...

I think people will eventually notice what technology affects them negatively, much as they have with TV and internet usage. Trying it out is usually the only way to find out what impact it has.

DK said...

Hmm.. I'm not content with the trial and error scenerio. This is the same thing as I said earlier, "if we can, we should". This mentality allows... even empowers technology adoption to be driven by it's appeals to our weaknesses and comforts.

It's a self-destructive path.

There is another way that is healthy, responsible, and wise. And I'm going to keep looking for it. :)

Anna said...

The other way that is healthy, responsible, and wise is to pray constantly, ask God what technology he wants you to use, listen for his answers, and then obey them. Decisions about what technology to use are not so different, really, from all of the other decisions we make.

Anna said...

This is not something that you can think your way to a universal solution, b/c the right path for each person is too individual. There's only One who knows the right path for everyone; gotta ask Him.

At least, that's my impression.

Janell Downing said...

i know this is a little late, but this song was easily my most favorite of 2010. i loved that whole album. i think, internet & technology aside, "we used to wait" reminds me of childhood. and as our nature takes more of a hold on us as we grow old, we become less patient. I am constantly reminding myself to wait. just as a way of life.

DK said...

Ah, I really like that stages of life perspective... It's seems to be more universally relevant regardless of the historical context.