Thursday, 1 November 2012

Computer interface, cultural values and conditioning?


I responded to Wired.com's article:
Why Apple (and You) Might Miss Scott Forstall
I see it as an opportunity to talk about the almost invisible layer of architecture and conditioning that communicates and inculcates cultural values - or indeed the lack thereof! So this isn't just about Mac - but a perspective on the extension of our mind - into virtual digital realities.


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Without making this a personality thing, I feel this article is missing the trend in computing that has largely abandoned an educated responsible user interface and opted for a dumber, entertaining, utility front end. There are all sorts of issues in this that are very worthy of discussion and acknowledgement but 'news' itself has also succumbed to the same template approach of dumbed and entertaining fodder.

Issues of control and communication are fundamental to a user interface.
There is a lot more at stake and involved than consumer edification in all of this for it is symptomatic of the prevailing culture or mentality of our times.
Computing has in a very short time, become a layer of both environment and an enabler and a lens of communication and function.
There are lots of things about the mind that are 'invisible' to those who simply 'use' or identify at the front end or surface. This is also true of the digital network - which is an extension of our lower mind.
I say lower because, the conscious qualities of a living presence - such as insight, discernment, recognition, honour and gratitude,  transcend and precede the programmed and programming mind.

We collectively have drifted into identifying ever more deeply with 'control mind' - and are losing the call and the culture of our truly Conscious being.
That which identifies control as safety, order and a self justified specialness of self, is blind to the truly Conscious and only sees it insofar as it can exploit it.
Meeting in shared purpose is very different from forcing outcomes. The quality of trust is extended and embodied.

Our architecture reflects our values - as does all that we embody. But it also inculcates those values as a subliminal conditioning.

Billions of us are spending a lot of time in this new 'environment' (regardless of the particular brand). I call for a conscious discernment as to the choices that collectively we are each and all making - because what we make tends to make us in its own image.

To sell a virtual world as a distraction for a desecration of our living relationship, (the Life), may provide meds against despair and chaos - but it takes another step away and ultimately only delays addressing and correcting the core issues that set up the experience of conflict, distrust, dissonance and dis-ease.

I was drawn to the Mac in the 90s in part because I felt a machine being fitted to Man rather than man being fitted to the machine. And in a way that made the machine more 'human-friendly' and creatively fun and less clunky, ugly and conformed to corporate business edicts. But that core principle was abandoned with Mac OSX - or at least adulterated and compromised to a marketing mentality. (And there are historical reasons which account for why).

The blindness leading up to the financial collapse is as nothing to the blindness of our passive acceptance of the cultural developments of our time. It is not as a conspiracy theorist or doomsdayer that I write - but simply in witness for a Conscious appreciation of the Life that we share (whether we like it or know it or not), and in a desire to wake up (from a dead end) to a life more abundant.

Its not just a product, its not just an operating system. It is mind expressing itself - consciously or unconsciously; wisely or chaotically.
Much that seems wise for the short term reaps a bitter harvest. We have to do more than think-react. (Or should I say less? Yes we have to calm down a bit, connect with our being and feel more).

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