Every time another computer-generated letter starts with “Dear Valued Customer,” you have my permission to damn well resent that computer. Especially its owners. For once again reducing you to yet another microchip of data in some vast impersonal storehouse of data pretending to know you.
I’m not contesting the computer. 91-year-old Uncle Harry is among the last bitter holdouts left on the planet. No, I’m protesting its masters’ ways of manipulating my existence into some sliced-and-diced blips on their marketing screens. Which is why the world no longer bothers to look at me. Instead they ask for my drivers license, social security number, and other faceless blips of data by which they now “value” me.
No sense fighting it. It’s the price we pay for the progress we’ve made. [George Orwell is I-told-you-soing from somewhere in that great computer-in-the-sky]. I call it the Tyranny of Reason. Once the brain — human and now digital — is in total charge, there is less and less room for the heart, the emotions, the intuitions, the leaps of faith, and the epiphanies of personal discovery. Lets face it — none of that stuff computes!
And so this week we’re reading the year-end summaries of the computerized research of 2011. I read about why chocolate is good for me…drinking coffee wards of depression…envy can be made useful …white-fleshed produce defends against strokes…neutrinos can exceed the speed of light…multi-vitamins are counter-productrive…city living can drive me crazy…and alien life seems increasingly real.
Woody Allen likes to say: “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.” Trouble is, with a world full of 24/7 computers, now everything IS happening all at once. But among all the extraordinary computerized results, I see none which have to do with the heart, the emotions, the intuitions, the leaps of faith, and the epiphanies of personal discovery. Why…? Because, thank goodness, none of that stuff computes…!
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