Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

A Speed Reading Culture

February 9, 2007

Life’s getting faster all the time. There seems to be more to read, more to see (DVDs), more music to listen to. It’s a media glut, and we can only really enjoy a slice of it.

But even with the stuff we get our hands on, do we really appreciate it’s value? I find myself really rushing through things these days. Books get digested, movies consumed, classical cds spun off the platter.

But do I really savour it, enjoy the experience?

There is this pressure to get it done, and then move on. There’s all this other stuff you have to try! But what about processing the memory, distilling it’s value? A bit of time to walk and think about it.

I wonder if life has become a DVD on fast forward – just a blur, no comprehension. Rush without meaning.

The Digital Tribe

January 23, 2007

As the bonds of society and place have fallen away, we have become increasingly disconnected individuals. The lone person, who has his family and his workmates, then faces the choice of who his personal friends are. We can meet everybody, but where is the meaningful connection?

This deep felt need is best reflected in the immediate generation. They are characterised by a single label – Myspace. This is the place where they construct their digital identity, network with interesting others, stay in constant global touch. Our youth feel this deep need to reach out, and connect.

That is their solution. Increasingly, adults faced with this same anomie, have found their own workarounds. A huge roster of email addresses is one way, this fantastic community of WordPressers is another. We all have our faces here, and our opinions. We contribute to each others lives by reading, commenting, bantering. We share an online existence.

We have become a digital tribe.

Community Building vs Individual Drift

January 17, 2007

We are currently living in a society where the individual is supreme. The man or woman of ability is given free reign, is well remunerated, and works wherever they want to in the world. This is not just your high flying merchant banker or corporate lawyer; this lifestyle applies to any number of trained skilled nurses, doctors, teachers and engineers. The cream have never had it so frothy.

Even the ordinary person has untold more choice than one generation ago in terms of field of work, where they live, who they associate with, how they spend their leisure.

There is just one problem with everyone being a great individual. What happens to this thing called society? When your neighbours are only so for 12 months, your workmates constantly move on, friends jet overseas for working holidays; what is to moor you to reality?

Professional sports have killed the amateur spirit, we no longer see films in a common hall, everyone has their own individual soundspace with iconic ipods, families no longer gather for dinner. Tradition had its chains, but it also resulted in a sense of common purpose and direction. Now each of us is a little microbe seeking a place of glory.

Individualism is a way of acknowledging and giving expression to all the wonderful diversity of the human spirit, but hyper-individualism becomes nothing more than ego. I and I, and nothing but the I.

I see society fragmenting and disintegrating before my very eyes.