let us depend on
that which thinks not
I've never had the chance to see what would happen if I missed a release date for Devil Shat. Sure, I've heard tales of zines that have missed a date, and their readers complain, and balk, and send little "what the hell you doing?" emails. I could only hope that the Devil Shat readers would do the same.
You see, I have an aversion to missing dates and deadlines. Hopefully, I'll never have to find out if my secret fantasies of caring readers writing me are true or not. I am one that I hope people can depend on.
But, what else do we depend on... sitting in our toasty little computer chairs staring at a screen of random ones and zeros?
What if we didn't have our computers and our internet... the most important means of communication for the 20th century? Without these toys, we'd sit in front of our TVs more, watching programs shoved down our throats. We don't want to know about Barney Miller's latest precinct mishaps, we'd much rather learn about how to break out of a jailcell. Johnny doesn't care how the Golden Girls are laughing about Blanche's sexual exploits, he'd much rather see if he could find some photos of her. And you wouldn't be able to find out if a new shareware game was released for your computer... you'd have to be content with flipping the channels. Without the internet, you can kiss your dreams "good bye"... we are dependant on the internet to fulfill our "need-to-know" desires and our "hmm, I wonder"s.
And what if we didn't have our restaurants, our fast food, our delivery people? We'd be at home more eating stale TV dinners, having food with the family or just plain starving. Women would cook more, men would try, and the kids would whine that they didn't get any toys with their overcooked burger. Maybe we'd talk more with those around us instead of listening to Michael Jackson's "We Are the World for the fiftieth time. We are dependant on fast food to fulfill our lazy desire to receive food instantly and to be waited on hand and foot.
What if we didn't have our music, our TV or our radio? How would Johnny ever know of Blanche and have that desire to see her naked? (Let's just ignore the ever apparent question of "Who would want to see a 56-old sex happy women naked?" Leandro, put your hand down.) Without these vocal communication resources, we'd have to rely on something some people call r-e-a-d-i-n-g. The problem is very few people actually do major reading any more. We'd probably have to reduce our newspapers to express ideas and facts in simple-to-skim diagrams. One question that arises: "Would we communicate more or less?" It's not as easy to answer as it may seem. Sure, we might talk more because humanity "wants to communicate", but what the hell would we talk about? Our culture would become full of "informers", those lucky few who read the paper and then dummy it up into five minute blurbs that we could handle in our busy life style. As much as Tipper can bitch about music, Buchanan about TV, and um... Stern about radio, we are dependant on them to give us something to say when we don't know have anything to say (how many of us really gave a shat about Clinton and his penis? ok, now, how many people talked about it?)
How dependant are we? There is one anagram that sums it up quite nicely: y2k. Were we not so dependant on that stupid little gray (or, in some cases, black) box, y2k would mean nothing except to the most dedicated user. Yet, instead, we have this big scare that the stock market will come to a screaming halt, and credit cards and other plastics will suddenly stop working or be shredded. All because some smelly kid named William forgot to program the year 2000 into his code. We've already heard tales of a 106 year old lady getting the paperwork to come to kindergarten because the computer thought she was 6. Were we not dependant on that which did not think, we would not have to worry about something as silly as an millennium.
How dependant are we? We are dependant on a lot more than this article tells. What of pets, traffic lights, jobs, and socks? Hell, people might be dependant on Devil Shat, and for those, I have bad news. There will be no issue this week. Be independent, think for yourselves, breathe some fresh air. Do not be that which thinks not.
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How's it going? I just started reading yer e-zine a week ago, and you guys not only address big issues sometimes, but you also make me laugh. Keep up the good work. Anyway, as for my response to issue twenty-six ...
I agree that people HAVE become much too dependant on computers. It's been well over ten years since I've been playing with computers and I've concluded that they are nothing more than tools. We should only use them as word processors, computer design programs, and what not. Our lives should not hang in balance because a computer is potentially going to malfunction.
Perhaps I'm giving too little credit to what they are useful for, but despite their great uses, our society should be able to kick in a back-up plan and be able to operate normally if and when computers DO malfunction. My Chemistry teacher, for example, lost her grade files when the school's network server crashed. She had to re-enter all the grades from scratch. She should have had a grade book, or at least a hardcopy of the grades, as a back-up. Just little precautions like that should be taken to prevent big catastrophies of the future. Our government and industry didn't bother with foresight about computers reacting to the turn of the century until five to ten years before it happened. Why not start taking the small precautions now to prevent another y2k fear?
The little girls I babysit for have no idea how to entertain themselves. They constantly complain of being bored and need to watch TV or play on the computer. What happened to the days when all you needed to keep busy for hours was your imagination? You needed no toys or gadgets- just imagination.
You stated "The problem is very few people actually do major reading any more." That I must admit is a sad fact. When asked in my English class last year what the last Non-school book you've read was one boy laughed and answered The Cat In The Hat. The sad part was that I believe him. I don't know where I'd be without books. I love to read and can't understand how some people find them boring but then plant themselves in front of the TV for hours. With books you create the pictures and sceens- you have to use your imagination. With TV it's all given to you- no imagination needed.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if people lost all their TV's and computers at once. I know I would live... but would you?
TV: a needless work creation scheme used to subvert and brainwash large numbers of people. Living without it is quite refreshing since your brain is again switched to active mode as opposed to the passive consumption of moving pictures that leave, if at all, only a superficial imprint in your brain. Try it.
Computers: Without them we wouldn't have the culture we live in. On the one hand, the absence of large data processing units would mean we would have progressed maybe to the level of the 1960's by now. On the other hand, kids would play more in groups instead of sitting in front of their Nintendos all the time.
Informers: These wouldn't be necessarily there. Reading the most important bits of a newspaper doesn't take that long, and, which is more important, people would simply reschedule their days to include a reading session. Probably in the time freed by not watching tv.
Topics: People don't need TV to have topics. If it isn't Clinton's penis, it's the neighbor's cat-loving dog.
A society is a number of people acting together in a spirit of mutual dependency. It is an intricate net of invisible strings that keeps the society from fragmenting and, at the same time, frees up resources to deal with larger issues. Example: The government depends on its citizens to pay their taxes. If the citizenry wouldn't pay them there would be no roads, social security and no armies.
Therefore dependency is a necessary part of human life.
But: You're only as dependent as you want to be. Unless you're in prison or are otherwise restrained by outside forces you are free to go away and live on a mountain. There will be no taxes there, no tv, and no anything you need to depend on but yourself. But that is the major point here. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you cut off all dependencies you may have, be it coffee, heroin or regular sex, you still find yourself with a new set of dependencies by the end of the day. In fact, you will have created these dependencies all by yourself.
The reason for this is probably partly to be found in the nature of humanity as gregarious animal. It's simply an evolutionary feature to work together with others and thus become dependent on them. Another part of the reason must be seen in the addiction to be addicted. Humans are habitual users, not only of the more obvious drugs like heroine but also of the less obvious once, like crocheting or collecting dead bodies in the basement.
You don't need to be independent, you just need to be dependent on the right things. Thinking is addictive. Thus I cannot be 'that which thinks not' unless I start using the wrong drugs and my brain starts to glow green. Just say Yes.