Friday, April 21, 2017

Accidents Will Happen

It might be that the main thing attracting me to The Stack was that it called attention to the fact that each elaboration for technological so-called "progress," sets a new stage for accident, and that these will be accidents of a new sort. I think deaths on the highways, or in the airways, or ghoulishly live on social or asocial media. Accidental juxtapositions and collisions newly founded.

One useful definition for technology of any sort is that it extends both our reach and grasp on the world around us. The motive, mostly, is to keep the fates at bay. To prevent accidental death and loss, by building shelter, by agriculture, by better methods for hunting and for fighting off ones natural or cultural foes.

One looks for safety and calm in repose, and only curated excitement in the daytime. Our repose also is attracted to what feels like home. Familiar, atavistically with hearth, but surrounded by loved ones -offspring and progenitors. Painted high-tech now with olive camo.

We are scattered now, and our hearths are artificial and largely hidden. We reconnect by means like Facebook, FaceTime, familiarity on the flatscreen. Some of us feel emotionally connected to the wilds still, the natural beauty, the random-seeming leavings of ephochs-long evolutionary processes. This is the stage for accident which we so frantically push away, now almost to oblivion, while we might still dream of other worlds to which we might escape in fantasy.

These epochs were marked by accidental mass extinction of species, by virtue or flaw of meteor collisions, methane inversions stimulated somehow by spew of nickel, say, or blockage of sun from ash in the atmosphere, and we even still dream of pushing even these accidents back toward oblivion, so clever might we become with our technologies.

These epochal collisions are our goldilocks accidents, the extinctions which made us possible, and which might be unlikely enough to make us special in the known cosmos. We never look for the architecture of accident. We leave that to the religious crazies.

It does seem to me so strange that those who remain at home in the wilds - knife in teeth as Whitehouse guest Ted Nugent was described, or Alaska wilds maven Sarah Palen, his hosted host - those who hunt and fish and carve the wilderness with noisy motorized off-road wheels which don't belong there, are also busy fanning the flames for our collective meltdown.

But those of us nursing sweet nostalgia for the wilds, as for our absent hearths, almost never go there except perhaps as a player of some high-tech adventure game, with gore-texted rain flys and outerwear, fine tolerance lines and carabiners, shoes which make us Spider-Man for just a day. Our presence in the wilderness is our imposition of the eternal me, as though God and fates anointed us. Special as a Snowflake.

I find it hard to feel attraction forward or backward to worlds which I don't share with relatives distant or near - fellow travelers on this latest accidental post-apocalyptic planet. The deserts of Mars or the moon or the earth after we destroy it. It would feel as lonely as heaven might, though I were provided every comfort.

There are not yet humans on the planet. We are animals still, now taken over by our technologies, and so I must set out to discover that I am wrong. Blessed are the meek for they are invisible to digital media, in ways both obscure and bizarre. I will try to send back smoke signals.

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