St. Augustine asked the question, in his detailed book Confessions of St. Augustine, “why, then, are you perverted and still following after your own flesh? Whatever you perceive by means of the flesh exist but in part, you do not know the whole of which these things are in part, but yet they give you delight” (Augustine 104). He was speaking, on one end, in terms of the human being and our limited intelligence, perspective, and ability to comprehend the bigger picture of life. The life God has for us, so instead we give in to what seems or feels good for the present time and will have many justifications for doing so. But I ask this question in regards to Bill Joy’s Why the future doesn’t need us, I ask are we ignoring the dangers certain new media technology brings because of our ability to only see the partial, present, and limited situation New Media brings?
While Joy speaks about making ethical decisions with going forward with Nanotechnology and robotics and Augustine speaks about the matters of having a godly, patient, and self-control attitude with decision making, one thing is certain both men touch on: we as human generally lack the ability to foreshadow because we only see what happens in part (we also live totally for the moment), not whole. To put this more in line with New Media I will to take this discussion to Snapchat. the Billion dollar company has generated much earned attention for the simple fact it is a unique social media platform (or at least it was before it began being copied) with its users being able to post pictures or videos that comprise of a “story” and it disappears in 24 hours.
Now the short term gain for both Snapchat and its users block or significantly limit their ability to see in whole what is going to occur from this experience. The inventors enjoy financial gain and prestige while the users enjoy all the endorphins released into their brains from posting their carefully curated and fragmented persona or “stories” on Snapchat. While both parties seem to benefit in some fashion (one more than the other), they only see in part. We as the masses don’t recognize the effects of self-consumption that are occurring in people, because we are indeed the latter. The energy that is needed to sustain you and create an intensity of focused concentration to create a meaningful peace of work or product (a product much like Snapchat), diminishes.
The inventors and such don’t see the effects or choose not too because, as langdon winner puts it in his writing “Mythinformation” from the New media reader, “they are busy pursuing their own ends: profits, handsome salaries, market share, the intrinsic joy of invention, the intellectual rewards of programming, and the pleasures of owning and using powerful machines” (NMR 590). In other words the rat race is not only a great way to describe what blinds the inventors and employees of Snapchat, but describes what blinds the users as well. As one group runs for a vain reward of “cheese” so does the other group.