Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Technology and Me

Realatively recently, I discovered the shuffle feature hidden away in my ipod mini. Learning to use it took some smarts, as I was stuck on shuffle for about a week's time, wrenched away from the peaceful-yet-devilishly clever lyrics of "A Very Cellular Song", by The Incredible String Band, and forced into cohabitation with the jubilant white noise of Boston's "Smokin'". Anthony taught me how to turn it on and off. That was very kind of him.

There are many things I don't understand concerning the practical functions of this world.

So this shuffle device, or whatever, has become what I like to call my co-conspirator in Getting Important Things Done. Or that's what I use as justification. Anyway, it saves me from myself, in that I don't need to take twenty minutes trying to match my music to my mood. It also releases me, in effect, from a self-induced ipod samsara* so that I don't spend valuable time singing the next song before it's even begun.

Then again, are my fellow shufflers and I reducing ourselves to being controlled by a machine? I mean, we can't pick our own music. Random properties controlled via machinery picks it for us. What next, automatic career selection? Mate selection?

It frightens me sometimes, thinking about how carelessly we let our autonomy slip free of our high human grasp.

*Samsara: Sanskrit for the ties that bind a soul to the earth, exemplefied by temptations such as finery, lust, and women (yeah, patriarchy still holds sway in Goddess-worshipping societies, too). In this case, I use it to refer to an unusual depth of ipod attachment.

1 comment:

Madeline said...

It's a slippery slope, that shuffle function. Today it's giving you random songs that you like, but tomorrow you may just turn on your iPod and hear something along the lines of: "SARAH PALIN WOULD MAKE THE BEST VICE PRESIDENT EVER. SHE CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM HER HOUSE." Then you will be brainwashed and it will be just like "It Can't Happen Here" all over again, except that it didn't happen in the first place. But it's okay because you wake up in a white, white bed and there's Gandalf. "Gaaaaandaaaaalf?" Yes, Gandalf. Who the hell else would it be. Gandalf with his white iPod classic, which he put on shuffle. Right now it's playing that weird-ass song Pippin sings when that guy is eating and it made us laugh, but tomorrow Gandalf might wake up and hear: "SAURON WOULD MAKE THE BEST EVIL EMPEROR EVER. HE CAN SEE YOU IN YOUR BATHROOM FROM HIS TOWER. NICE TIGHTY-WHITIES, GANDALF." And so it continues.