So I was checking out Kanye’s new album, and New Slaves came on. A couple of things came to mind. First, that’s a sick-ass beat. And then I started listening to the lyrics. And at first thought I was thinking he was making a statement about being slaves to commodities, and material items. But that didn’t sound like Kanye, so I actually looked up the lyrics. Then I figured out what he actually meant. But of course I stayed with the notion of being slaves to items. Actually, that evolved into me contemplating the notion of being slaves to technology. In one of my comm classes this semester, we discussed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I highly recommend that you check it out. The movies aren’t completely accurate. Which is a whole other topic that I can discuss later on. Any who, one of the main points Shelley brings up with her story is this idea of a slave/master role reversal. I won’t go into too much detail for those of you unfamiliar with the story. But what stuck with me is how this idea is still ever-so relevant today. We at first, are the owners of technology. We buy them. Or they’re gifts. Whatever. But we have the power.
Consider this though, at what point do those clunky items own us, and how much power are we giving to them? I feel that I am a prime example more than I would care to admit. The numerous times where I’ve left or broken a phone and felt naked, lost, and alone. What gives me hope, is that the feeling doesn’t linger. I eventually feel free, and sort of relieved. Then I realize that my dad is probably worried sick because I’ve left all of his texts unanswered. Alas, I retrieve my phone, or get a new one, putting the ball and chain back on.
And I know for a fact that there are people worse than me. People attached to phones, tablets, and computers. Always on the grid. Always connected. Online. But while everyone is connected online, what does that do for interpersonal relationships in real life? Do we neglect them? Even though we’re physically present, are we actually engaged with the people next to us? If you haven’t seen this video, it should be the wake-up call we all need.
So let us not be perpetually engulfed in our technological items. Sure, splurge every once in a while, get that GS4. I love mine! But remember, phones are easily replaceable, and will always be there. If you become so focused on what’s in your hands, your friends and family members may not always be there. You could lose them in an instant. And they aren’t replaceable.