In this video, Laurie Anne Fuhr shares her poetry with The Question Community.
We love our personal technology. We love it in all its forms – desktop, handheld, mountable, wearable, drivable, virtual, and imaginable.
General technology is difficult to love. Just like a great cheeseburger is much easier to love than the greedy industrial food complex that made it possible. If general technology means the underlying technological foundations, the complex supporting infrastructure, the precisely engineered functionality, and the unbelievably intertwining operations that make our personal technology work, then it’s not surprising when we talk about general technology, the word “love” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Like it’s often said, we generally don’t want to know how the sausage or burger is made.
We only love that our personal tech works, not how it works. Or even more importantly, not why it works. But “why?” is the question that takes us further down the path.
So, we can admit that we really don’t love everything about technology. But sit us down in front of a cheeseburger, the latest iPhone, the newest 4K Ultra HD TV, Oculus Rift virtual reality, Google Glass, or an autonomous vehicle, and we fall in love.
It may even be a condition worse than love, because our relationship with our personal tech resembles something closer to cult-like or dangerously addictive behavior.
In this episode of The Question podcast, you will hear highlights from Frederick Tamagi’s presentation on technology, The Cloud, and our future, as well as the music of Jonathan Ferguson.
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This video features the full presentation from The Question gathering in May.
We are inundated, overwhelmed and irretrievably smitten by thoughts of love. We are made willing and vulnerable to the images, words, and expressions of love in popular media and the day to day culture that surrounds us. Movies, television, popular music, advertising, social media, food, sports, clothing, many popular and unpopular causes, and so many other things have all become a kind of subliminal programming in the modern culture of love.
Love really sells. Everything from diamonds to diapers to pizzas to pet food. More than anything, the material world has discovered something in us. It’s either a buried treasure or a ticking time bomb embedded deep in our personal foundations.
Regrettably, it’s an involuntary response, sometimes quietly seductive, sometimes intensely gratifying, and almost always a confirmation of one of our most powerful vulnerabilities. We are motivated by the possibilities and fantasies that are the promised rewards of the search for love.
We are surprised, even shocked sometimes, at the lengths to which we will go to experience what the modern culture of love promises us. On the one hand, we are made to think that the occurrence of love is so natural, so ordinary, so human that we merely need to exist and breathe to eventually claim the right to experience the feeling. So we wait in anticipation of that moment.
At the same time, we are made to believe that the occurrence of love is so special, so extraordinary, so beyond the reach of a mere human, that we must make an extraordinary effort to act, speak, look and consume in a certain way just to qualify for an experience of the feeling. So we feverishly search for that moment.
We are so driven, even desperate in our considerations of love that we have gradually widened but not necessarily deepened our definition of love.
If love is indeed the greatest power on earth, or even the universe, we can’t be faulted for wanting to understand and experience such power. The entire history of mankind is a history of attempts to reach that understanding through simple formulas, quick judgments about what is and what is not love, and whether it’s the history of mankind or our own personal history, those simple formulas, though numerous and seductive, always fail to deliver in the face of new experience, knowledge or inspiration.
Love has been called the greatest power on earth. There are even some that call love the greatest power in the universe. If love is in fact the greatest anything, we do need to question whether or not we diminish love by simplifying it into a formula. We also need to question whether or not we are ourselves are diminished by that same process.
Many of us spend our entire lives trying to understand love from the inside of a formula, only to find out that new experience, new knowledge, new inspiration from outside of the formula renders that formula inadequate, baffling, or sometimes completely wrong.
You would think that new experience, knowledge and inspiration would encourage us to seek new understanding, but often we are just left broken, disillusioned and discouraged by the formulas of love. It speaks to the unique power of the world to control our understanding of love when we buy into the belief that we have failed, and not the formula.
When plants are isolated from the sounds of other existence around them, they often don’t flourish. But, they appear to respond positively if any sounds of existence, pleasant or not, are present in their environment.
When human voices, instead of recorded electronic sounds, are present, many plants demonstrate an ability to distinguish between spoken nurture or abuse, and then they respond accordingly. They respond to us.
Plants appear to have some practical internal network for electrical impulses that reacts to external stimuli. This internal network can be de-sensitized using a conventional anesthetic.
Sincere, committed vegans believe that their lifestyle is an expression of the foundational truth that animals possess an innate personhood. In this way, they sincerely believe that they really do understand love, because you don’t kill and eat a person that you love.
But what happens to their understanding of love if there’s a possibility that plant life is also sentient, self-aware, sensitive to the vibrations of environment, and able to recognize human communication. What happens to their understanding of love when electrical impulses passing through a plant’s internal network might contain a message of suffering or even pain?
Would they shake off this possibility, because plants have no conventional neural capability, and can’t really perceive suffering or cry out in pain? How might they react if they were told of present day indigenous cultures that celebrate and experience the life of plants in an audible dimension.
Auschwitz is one of the Nazi concentration camps that facilitated the murder of over 6 million Jews during World War II.
It has been estimated that over 250,000 civilians, men, women and children have been killed so far, and an additional 10 million people, close to half the population of Syria – have been displaced and scattered, many of them forever.
Both of these horrors are deeply embedded in the question of how we understand love. From our sheltered, idealized culture, we often condemn war as futile, destructive expression of hate – the antithesis of peace and love.
And yet, war and peace can both be expressions of love.
If love is the simple motive that characterizes men as brothers and friends, what is the simple motive that characterizes men as fighters and killers?
Turning us into killers is the dead giveaway that war must be about hate. So if war is about hate, peace must be about love. That’s the if-then formula for love that enables us to habitually condemn war and righteously judge the warmongers in our midst.
Is it possible that both images of peace and war are expressions of love.
Relentless habitat destruction and rampant poaching for their skins, bones, penises, and other organs for trophies and Asian folk medicines has decimated the population of Sumatran tigers. There are less than 500 are still left in the wild. Two other indigenous species of Indonesian tigers have completed disappeared in just the last 80 years.
The Indonesian government has finally awakened to the problem that human weakness and corruption within their country has forced Indonesia to export dozens of Sumatran tigers to safe zoos all over the world.