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.