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A brief look into my Tech Mitigated Life February 25, 2009

Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions, Indirect Approach.
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It’s 3:33AM. I’m noticing that who I am is now tech defined.

For the last several days my iPhone would not ring. Apparently some switch on the side got switched and though Settings said ring was on, ring was actually off. It took me awhile to find it. Actually I didn’t find it. Complaining to a friend, he told me his had done the same thing, and revealed there was some switch on the side. I fumbled in that direction and the next thing you know I heard the ring of an incoming call. Magic, I’d say. Now I’m back with the living: immediately accessible, though tech mitigated, once again.

This morning I woke thinking about my current experience, living in expanded tech, tech being defined as that which is human created, man-made as it were.

Looking back, I could say that I’ve gone from experiencing life through family – with parents, siblings, pets, sometimes grandmas and grandpas, and now and then cousins; life through body as a dancer from a young age and later athlete; and life through interaction with others, leading and learning as a “boss” of the older and teacher of the younger ones since I was probably about 7 or so. When did tech show up?

And it’s not that I didn’t have a body till I was 5, but that is likely when the consciousness of life experienced through the body came online and began to be actively explored. That is when a mentor appeared, along with a venue, and regular and rhythmic times for practice were put in place. Conscious movement and the practice of creation in the world became a part of my life that grew in scope by age 10 into a series of mostly daily occasions – every day after school for 3 to 4 hours and 6 hours on Saturday – encompassing dance, drama, music and (to a lesser extent) art. And lasted for years after that.

There was another time when my life was experienced through tech – the checkbook. I know it sounds funny, but it was really true. I was going through a divorce, and my attention was on my bank balance – Quicken being the place where that lived for me. Having made the split of few assets and seemingly more liabilities, and having rid myself of the source of the increasing debt (yes, guys with credit cards can be dangerous too), the question now was: How the hell was I going to manage to payoff what sat clearly on my plate? I remember looking weekly at those numbers, and having the real experience of feeling what I felt. It was a bank balance weather report. As I mapped out a payoff future and lived into it, at the skinny end of each month, I routinely felt more edgy. I remember sitting in my office and looking at the checkbook balance – for no reason did I actually need to look at it while I was a work, but I did. Why? As the debt went down and the savings balance could then go up, I felt increasingly better. My tech told me so.

I’ve been acutely aware in recent years of the tech we call language and how it mitigates my experience of the world. I have more than one friend who gains access to culture, people, understanding and life experience through facility in at least 5 “natural” languages. Being American, I really have one, plus unfortunately only a smattering of entry points to a very few others. This is a seriously tech mitigated (actually tech deprived) part of my life.

A couple weeks ago, in a group experiment, another friend finally got me into World of Warcraft, and I began to experience life as mitigated through an avatar. Yes, actually experience – exploration, inquiry, emotions, learning – life! But since I came home from that experiment, I haven’t loaded up WoW on either my desktop or the netbook (tech deprived – had to buy a USB CD reader). I haven’t joined the google group. I haven’t responded to the invitations to connect to others in the experiment on Linkedin. My avatar awaits somewhere in the “land“ of WoW, but basically: I’m not happening. Totally tech mitigated.

And now my battery just told me it was down to 20% – “low“ energy. So my body gets up (yes, out of bed), locates the plug, and establishes an active lifeline from this particular Eee thorugh my household electrical system to the utility company, across distribution and transmission to generation, and I can now continue this blog post. I’m so living a tech mitigated life.

Now I’m back under the covers. More tech. Working by electric light. Tech, and tech again.

Seems my entire experience is now tech mitigated.

So what’s it good for – or not?

Tech mitigates what I receive and give. What I have access to or not. Yeterday I couldn’t reserve a book at the library without my “code” – went hunting for the library card and actually found it! Tech mitigation once again.

Someone told me that Second Life is filled with mostly a bunch of folks having cybersex. What? I just laughed! Maybe I’m old-fashioned and just don’t get it. At best, I have sex with another warm and friendly, attentive, present human person with a body – okay more “tech“ you might say: body mitigated mingling – but isn’t that the definition, and frankly the major fun, of sex?

RE: net-based “community” building: In my experience, there’s a decided difference between a network (bunch of links) and a community (interrelated, interdependent, interactive). Seeing the excited expressions in email (I can tell because she uses caps and lots of extra vowels and exclamation points (OOOOOO!!!!) is actually not like sitting with Sharona and the ladies at the quilt shop, having them touch my arm, hearing their voices in real-time and seeing their moist alive eyes. And being in their presence as they share with me their stories and ideas and encouragement. I’m sorry, it’s just not.

It must be that a some point in some past there was less mitigation of experience by tech. More direct. More real then? For me, there are times when simply having a meal with a friend is what is needed – without worrying: are the salmon “free-range”? the veggies non-GMO? Yikes! More tech!

I say that the energy of life and experience changes with tech mitigated anything. Not good or bad necessarily, but certainly different. And I also wonder, what does it take to have a non-tech mitigated experience – even to get underneath, behind, language? Direct, I’m talking direct, here.

Space and time in their place and clime

You are not in this here-now but will get this communication in some there-then.

HERE-NOW, WHERE-WHEN

Now as I write this, I’m alternatively here-now … and at some indeterminate there-then (would that be a where-when?) as I consider a future reader, even myself!

Blogging is curious. It places in time, a fixed expression. What’s that good for? Making a mark, placing a reference point. With it I can trap the various semblances of my thinking . Get it out of the not nearly so perfectly searchable space of my oh so humanly fallible memory.

THERE-HERE-NOW

And yeah, Obama spoke to Congress last night. For me it was a tech mitigated experience from (yes, one of the) TV rooms of a dear and definitely technoid friend, big screen, surround sound and all. When I wondered how the President remembered all those stats to quote, my way more tech-savvy viewing buddy pointed out the teleprompters, by means of which the man could seem so self-possessed. OK I’m finally updated on that point (geez, what I‘ve missed without the standard American diet with daily doses of TV!).

So though I actually wasn’t “there” there, in the chambers of Congress – I wasn‘t standing and clapping depending on whether I was a demo or a repub or an all out proud American – I was “there” here. So was I “there”? (You hadda be there, man!) Where was I?

If I consider “attention is the outward manifestation of the soul“ as one of my great teachers has given, I would say I was definitely “there”. Embodied, I was here – sharing tears and emotion with my viewing buddy, and in my experience, simultaneously “there”. A there-here-now tech mitigated experience.

I love this stuff.

And I’m sure there’s more here, and I should edit and smooth more than I have, and perhaps I’ll pick it up at some potential where-when.

But now the tech tells me it’s 5:44AM and my (non-tech) neck hurts and I’m going to shut off the netbook and the electric light and stretch out before dawn. Biology uber alles.

Oh, first “post” – or it don’t really exist “in the real world”.

Tech mitigated after all.

Potential Future Inquiries: implications and examples of all the permutations of HERE, THERE, WHERE, and NOW, THEN, WHEN — and HOW; the “If ever” poem I wrote some weeks back – on another computer (that’s a THERE-THEN)

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