Cut Up the World

I love this:

The most powerful technological advances break limbs in half. They cut up the world in an entirely new way, inconceivable in the previous order.

A thoughtful piece… perhaps a must-read for those that care about technology and want to understand how to better impact the world with it.

Almost every technological advance is a de-condensation: it abstracts a particular function away from an object, a person, or an institution, and allows it to grow separately from all the things it used to be connected to. Writing de-condenses communication: communication can now take place abstracted from face-to-face speech. Automobiles abstract transportation from exercise, and allow further de-condensation of useful locations (sometimes called sprawl). Markets de-condense production and consumption.

And it continues:

Why is technology so often at odds with the sacred? In other words, why does everyone get so mad about technological change? We humans are irrational and fearful creatures, but I don’t think it’s just that. Technological advances, by their nature, tear the world apart. They carve a piece away from the existing order – de-condensing, abstracting, unbundling – and all the previous dependencies collapse. The world must then heal itself around this rupture, to form a new order and wholeness. To fear disruption is completely reasonable.

I think most of us have forgotten what it is to fear technological change. Perhaps its because many of us have been born into a massive wave of technological change and can’t remember / don’t know a life before living on the wave.

Or, perhaps, we’ve experience it so often, these micro-changes, that we’ve built up an immunity, a resistance, and it has made us fundamentally blind.

I’ll admit that as I get older my anxiety around technology is growing. I know that I can no longer pace with all of the change and I have to pick and choose even more selectively than ever before.

And that’s scary. It’s scary to fully own up the fact that you’re as limited as you dared to believe that you were and that it’s not getting any better.

There’s hope though; I believe that all of this is a challenge to choose more wisely the use of our time and be more deliberate, introspective, and grateful for the results, whatever those things might be.