Homo APP-iens?

As a mere human being, I guess I’m sort-of—out-of-date.  You see, so many of the activities I used to do—can be performed better by…well, you know.  It’s getting so that I wonder what I’m supposed to do?

I’ve heard that, as humans, we evolved over millions of years—so I guess our bodies and senses must be pretty fine-tuned to the “environment” (I mean “nature,” I guess).  We can perceive “information,” you see, and then “process” it in our human brains.  Didn’t our cerebral cortex, especially, evolve over hundreds of thousands of years?  So I guess it’s pretty good at processing, analyzing, thinking, and all that.  But, you know, you just can’t beat a computer—faster, more precise, and without all those messy, troublesome “emotions”!  (What are they for, anyway—I mean, “emotions”?)  And, well, my Smartphone allows me to be, OK, sure–dumb.  (Just a second, hold on, a call coming in; false alarm—wrong number.)

My car takes me to “places” where my legs used to go (when “activated” by my brain, of course).  But why even strain the brain?—turn on the GPS and sit back. (Still, the annoying problem of having to decide where to go.  But, actually, why go anywhere?  Sit back, relax into the chronic “passive-receptive” mode, and let cable TV, Netflix, etc., etc.–bring all that “experience” to you (at the flip of a button!).

Inert passivity: it’s a kind of condition in which, still being alive, one can “enjoy” the…satiety? nirvana?…of being dead.  So sit back, relax—let’s “passivate” while we “activate”—and allow our gadgets, devices and APPS to do all that troublesome living for us!

Oh yes–I found out what APP stands for: APPENDAGE—to the MACHINE.


For a more serious exposition of my “humanistic” critique of technology, see my previous Dissident Voice essays, such as “Spontaneity or Robopathy?” and “Inflated Employability”.

Intellectual historian and psychoanalytic anthropologist, William Manson (Ph.D., Columbia) has published numerous scholarly books and papers, and is a longtime contributor to Dissident Voice. Read other articles by William.