We have a tendency to become reflective at the beginning of a new year and the juxtaposition of these images readily lends itself to reflection. Looking at the plug in the window in the left half of the image is an obvious example of basic electrical technology. Is the happy face in the right image smiling because it can use technologybeing unplugged or wireless? Or is it happy because it’s completely unplugged and can view the world for a while naturally, unobscured by being “on” or “plugged in” to an iPhone, or iPad?
Our world has certainly been transformed by computer technology, and it’s not going away. We have made miraculous strides, but there are also downsides. Some would argue that our obsession with being “on” constantly has distorted the “window” through which we see reality. On the left half of the image, we see a conventional window not only with a barrier on one side, but converted to a plug on the other. In this unattractive extreme, we’ve traded our view on the natural world for a more technological one.
I remember driving with friends and their children up the Sea to Sky Highway years ago on the way to Whistler. I was overwhelmed as usual by the awesome beauty of the sea and mountains. I was always obsessed with natural beauty, especially the ocean, from my earliest memories. The children in the vehicle were in their early teens and I realise this can be a self-absorbing time, but I was still astounded by their lack of interest in the view, even though this was their first time on the West Coast. Instead, they were completely absorbed in their video games.
Just the other day I saw 3 young men jogging and discussing the latest in GPS technology, while a woman was jogging in the opposite direction, talking on her cell phone. We can see this on a daily basis in all aspects of our existence, constantly texting, talking on cell phones virtually everywhere, barely able to resist even during a beautiful live performance.
Perhaps we can envision our future in a more balanced manner, appreciating our technology to enhance but not distort our view of the natural world.
This picture was taken near Burrard and Davie in Vancouver’s West End. The happy face is part of a current billboard display and the window is on a building beside it. The plug in the window was used in a former publicity in conjunction with the billboard.