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Meanwhile # 1 | October 2003
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How is it that we became so suddenly dependant on the machine....? All of a sudden I was hopelessly lost without even a calculator to double check the most basic calculation?
I think the worst thing the industrial revolution has done to us, was take away our basic confidence in our abilities. The fact that I doubt myself without my computer (spell check) or calculator just shows that we are puppets in a big production where a few major role players are handlers controlling our basic lives and times. How often do we hear somebody complaining that their computer was stolen or broken and now they can’t function or work, that major data is lost and/ or unretrievable.

The fact is that the day you bought your first computer you signed up for a position in the international puppet show; and that your money is being paid straight into, we all know who’s, holiday fund account. You are now part of the evil circle of upgrades, breakdowns, driver searches, cable confusion and viruses. Your life is now basically over, you have bought technology and the currency was your soul....

 

© MEANWHILE

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The worst of it all is the fact that just buying the machine is not enough, the illusion that you are strong enough to stay out of the puppet show is quickly over when you hear your machine is outdated, your software is old or your current software is not compatible with your solution. Voila! You are in! You upgrade your system software and what happens?!!! Your other, slightly older, machines cannot read the new software, your system doesn't work because it is too new... Need I say more?

The puppet master doesn't have any regard for the small business - who tries to stay afloat in this madness, and who honestly tries to do things according the puppet show rules; are slowly and painfully being chocked to death. How sad that one company can rule the world with no objection from anybody?

Then we come to technical support.... Joke number two! You have won all your Christmas presents in April if you stumble onto somebody who actually knows what's going on and has the perseverance to try and find the problem to fix it, (and not charge a ridiculous fee per hour on top of it all).

We are lost in this world of upgrading compatibility, RAM and internet. Did we actually survive without it? Did we have a life simpler but more meaningful before this? How did we cope? Did we actually write by hand, posted it and waited for a reply? Did we draw with our hands and wrote in a diary? Did we file things in cabinets and calculated with our heads?

Don’t we still do these things? Don't we calculate in the supermarket and in our private thoughts every single day? Do we really need all these gadgets, or do we think we need them because we are told that we do? Or do we need to have one because everybody has to have a better one than their neighbour?

But if the power doesn’t fail, my email works, there’s money in the bank and work to be done we are happy talking about the slow “old” days over coffee in a digital chat room, telling our friends how we walked twenty kilometres to school in the snow with our bare feet...

 

Yvette Esterhuizen