November 29, 2006

Daughter In Turn Rearing

First before anything is accomplished in any form during this blog prompt, I must first acknowledge and praise the works of Neil Postman in his creation of Technopoly. This work has proven informative in the highest sense, reestablishing that which has already been thought while simultaneously layering new information of profound precedence. With subtle displays of humor, impressive use of factual knowledge, and overwhelming social implications, his work needed, at least in minute form, a certain level of praise.

Even if both authors were oblivious to the notion, Lance Lavine and Neil Postman hold somewhat of a common view, no, a level of awareness on the surrounding world seemingly supported by quantifiable knowledge and the ever present dictating hand of technology.

As a way to begin our conversation lets discuss Neil Postman. Neil Postman describes his awareness through the means of a new term establishing its foothold in our language, Technopoly. A great quote realized by Postman, which will direct future conversation on the subject goes as follows, “For something has happened in America that is strange and dangerous, and there is only a dull and even stupid awareness of what it is – in part because it has no name. I call it Technopoly.? In order to understand this statement, we must first inquire the knowledge of this strange and dangerous phenomenon, which in turn will describe the meaning of Technopoly.

Neil Postman begins to analyze technology in rudimentary fashion, technology of course being the root of Technopoly. In this fashion he begins to describe technology in the basic notion of what it does. He does this by not solely viewing what benefits arise from creating technology, a view that he assess to the Technophiles, while also not only viewing the problems that arise from the creation of technology. While this balance is seemingly there, you gather the notion that there is large problem with society not being able to properly control or apply predictions to the creation of new technologies by the end of the text. This view, in which a culture is dictated by the very technology that created it to an end of no projection, is called a Technopoly.

The general notion of his text is to bring awareness to the expanse of technology which in many instances brings harm to the culture. The document can be summed by Stephen Vincent Benet,

“If you at last must have a word to say,
Say neither, in their way,
‘It is a deadly magic and accursed,’
Nor ‘It is blest,’ but only ‘It is here.’?

Of course this was merely a summery of Postman’s work, and in truth required no form of insight in my part. I perceive this notion, but must still continue with the work of Lance Lavine before the final statements of conclusion can be related between the two.

Lance Lavine, a guest speaker who took part in our lecture, holds a belief of technology as an order of nature. This entails that technology is created as a way to inhibit, embrace, or extract functionality from our surrounding nature. A simple but effective example of this notion lies in the principles of gravity (nature) and the use of beams to inhibit it (technology). An important fact that he discussed in length, though truly being a side topic to the conclusion of this topic, was the fact that architecture couldn’t not wholly rely on technological support. This means that a building cannot merely be “a lot of steel?, as I’ll quote one of my less than impressively articulate classmates, a statement which Lance Lavine ingeniously used to tie together his lecture. A building, or at least the concept of a well constructed and fulfilling building, must involve much more than the simple victory over the force of gravity or the basic protection from the elements, it must involve the feelings and sentiments, the muse and contemplation, the beliefs and ideologies of the very souls that create it. Then and only then, with the basic manipulation of the technology of nature, will a building be truly amazing.

He uses the design of the Gothic church as his ideal building in describing a meaningful creation. A building which uses to a great extent the technologies man has against and in conjecture with the forces of nature, and a building who has a great moral implication behind its functionality. His example of the meaningless constructs of pure technology was shown in the form of the Glass Building of Europe, which I regrettable don’t have full knowledge about. This building was described as a great use of technology, able to heat plants and increases their growth, but lacked any design appeal and was basically a hollowed glass shell.

Now that both men are placed in open discussion, their knowledge divulged, I will discuss the possible connection or differences between their theories.

I believe that the only complete similarity in their beliefs around technology, are that they are both comprised of the same notion of technology. Meaning that they are discussing the same topic, but the views that they share on the creation of this topic seem to vary drastically. Postman, in regards to a Technopoly, expresses his belief that technology expands by its own means not necessarily for a given purpose to overcome. This can be explained by Francis Bacon who stated, “the improvement of men’s minds and the improvement of his lot are one and the same thing.? This means that technology will continue to improve in Technopolies regardless of the effect it has on culture and without a given cause, because it is perceived as a new means to improve the world.

This belief is contrasted by Lance who believes that technology expands in conjunction with the need to overcome an element of nature, and thus creates the principle of technology as an order of nature. This has a somewhat hidden interpretation that technology will only increase in conjuncture with the need to solve a problem.

Inherently I would side along the notion of Postman, but truthfully my knowledge of the man known as Lance Lavine is limited, so I can’t say that this is his entire notion of the technology of nature which he described in lecture. With a difficult question it would seem to come to a difficult conclusion, one that doesn’t fully satisfy the thirst for fulfillment or understanding, but is to the best of my abilities. Perhaps an interview with Lance Lavine with direct questions towards the functionality and principles behind Technopolies would dissect the truth of the statement, but this is an equation I cannot complete.

Knowledge has been attained and correlations contemplated.

November 8, 2006

The Founding of Color

Mathematics and art, two of the most influential principles behind human society, yet I have never fully related them. I have seen the importance of perspective and proportion in some designs, a mathematical analysis of art form, but seize with the connection from there. My enlightenment in this prompt comes wholly from the reading, a prompt who’s subject will dwell on that of color.

The relationship that is formed between science and art, especially from something as seemingly indifferent as color, is peculiar and traces over the footsteps of many decades. An interesting association sprung about between the leaders of art and mathematics as the 19th century came to turn and Einstein forged the reasoning behind the immense universal importance of light. The Fauvism movement in art sprung in the exact era of Einstein, a practice that involved the importance of simple forms and colors, which was a duplicate of Einstein’s vital description of light.

Previous to this new movement, the popular paintings of the time were composed of dull hues with sole importance laying on the use of perspective and linear arrangement. The same can be said in the field of science, which lacked expression on the significance of the construction or functionality of color. With the turn to the modern era, this was soon to change as the founders of modern art and calculation paved the path towards and recognized the importance of color.

Color, through the form of art, find its value within the ability to arouse feelings by the mere sight of the various hues. Sights such as red are linked with energy, vitality, and life, even though, as a side note, it was stated that there is a change in the functionality of blue as the leader of energy within the text. These emotions that can be linked through mere sight serve the purpose of design and consume the construct with the reasoning behind the various products that can be formed by their use. The Fauvism movement realized this crucial element of art and expressed it in such pieces as Monet’s The Japanese Bridge.

October 25, 2006

Asphalt Spider Webs

“Beam me up Scotty!?

There in lies a classic Star Trek quote, a statement referring to a method for solving the current and pressing opposition of movement. Our struggle with this opposition exists today at a monumental scale. As our human society continues to expand, the importance on transportation pursues.

Our current transportation methods aren’t as elaborate, and likely useful, as teleportation, but we continue to move faster then usual by the use of machines. Cars, a four letter word to our environment. The conversation towards the hazards of cars isn’t unheard of; regardless, solutions need to be found in our time of need. Even neglecting the environmental pollution cars can cause, the system in which they operate is impeding and consuming the natural world.

It was stated in a 2002 National Geographic report that scientists produced the first map that traces human influence on the natural world, and the numbers were large. “Overall, 83 percent of the total land surface and 98 percent of the areas where it is possible to grow the world’s three main crops (rice, wheat, and maize) is directly influenced by human activities.? This knowledge makes the next statement about our consuming road system more quantifiable. “In the United States, people have the idea that there are these really big wild spaces still out there. It’s not true. One study showed that 20 percent of the continental U.S. land mass is within 500 meters of a paved road.? With roads constantly under construction, it ends up being no more than a limit formula, connected with population growth, until all of America, nay the world, is consumed by this form of transportation.

Among the multiple approaches for the resolution of oppositions, many seem to fit the problem. If forced into preference, I would believe the probabilistic response to be the most adequate. The solution to this problem however is quite hard to decide/discover. I am a frail figure amongst the thousands of people faced with this question everyday. The constant search for alternate forms of energy and transportation. Because of this lack of knowledge in the field, I realize that if I come up with a possible solution it has already been worked out. This does not bother me, for I realize the answers are out there; we have just yet to find them. Let us hope that when we do, our society will be prepared for the sacrifices that are conjoined with change.

If only the answer lied within Star Trek.

October 11, 2006

That’s Not Phenomenal!?!

While surveying the fourth blog prompt, I swiftly uncovered its lively, imaginative, and vast character. The last of which began to cause problems. To avoid the ease of simplicity, I concluded against the subject matter of natural growth. Examples being, the growth patterns of tress, the shifts of seasons, the patterns of solar systems, etcetera. I soon came up with a more fitting subject matter. Relationships.

My last few blog prompts have been void of cheerfulness, a trait that seemed fitting to change. One can not always complain; especially as a person who is genuinely thankful to be both alive and in his current position. Thus it would seem that intellectual retorts to life’s questions can endure neglect for a single blog.

My topic is relationships. Relationships of all shapes, colors, consistencies, potencies, meanings, and influences. A phenomenon that I hold dearly, treasure deeply, and choose to enjoy until my dieing day. My reasoning may reach for answers at times, but overall portrays the things, frameworks, and clockworks of this observable occurrence. All makes sense in the end.

Human relationships consist of the things which comprises oneself. In simplified terms, this could be defined as an object or body, but it can also pertain on a much larger scale. Thoughts, consciences, feelings, these are all things that comprise the body which in turn comprise the things of relationships.

Things

The frameworks of relationships fall into the category of location and society. If you are placed within the top rungs of a social hierarchy, your conduct with the outside world and your closest confidents will undoubtedly be different than those of the man placed within the caged walls of governmental reform. Location has and always will hold a great significance on the productivity and conduction of our lives.

Frameworks

Frameworks

Lastly, the clockworks of relationships our comprised within the psyche of the mind. Explanations can not always be found, especially by oneself, but its been researched and observed that humans enjoy the contact, on varying levels, of other humans. This sets the time limit for each persons relationships, in whatever form they may be. From a casual hello to and intimate explosion, the longing for this contact continues and perseveres. Interesting and disturbing enough, serial killers and be defined under the same context.

My friends and I are composed of the things in relationships. Our college life sets our framework, and our general pleasure of being together causes us to reconnect when given the option, thus completing the clockwork. It’s a cycle; an occurrence of various properties and significance involving and possibly consuming everybody’s shell. A singularly complex phenomenon amongst the limitless entirety in which they exist.

Phenomenon

Phenomenon

“You're going to carry that weight?
-Cowboy Bebop

October 4, 2006

The City’s Courtyard

Cold constricting concrete. Breathless barred wood. Two simple sentence that can began to define our lives within the compact housing we create.

When I was given the option to reflect on a location, it only seemed fitting to subject my view on my new home, the University of Minnesota. Many questions pursued this decision. The most influential of these was expressed in the definition of what centralized the University of Minnesota and pulled such a large campus together. Under these limited conditions my answer became apparent, the “City’s Courtyard?. The area I am referring to seemingly goes without official title, but never the less lies between the Coffman Memorial Union and the Northrop Memorial Auditorium. A perfect place to do everything from sleeping to homework, filled with the simplicity of nature’s finest.

Bubble

Pop

Elec

Tric

Ancient towering protectors among blossoming spheres of color midst flourishing seas of green. A steep contrast from my initial paragraph, the latter of which is a definition of the land that pulls this campus together. Regardless of what many people choose to deny, humans are undoubtedly an inseparable piece of nature. A result of a series of connections that is given and burdened as a birthright. This connection with nature shows itself in an infinite amount of behavior tendencies, one of which is a general appreciation for the living, more specifically the flora that surrounds us. Confinement within the condensed housing that is apparently forever linked with college life, causes the body to, in a sense, ache for the freedom granted by the outdoors. This reason grants importance to the courtyard and gives it a function outside of its intrinsic beauty.

It’s this simple function that makes the courtyard the most influential area on campus, something that connects everybody attending in a subconscious way they may never recognize. The use of space welcomes, the vegetation insists, and the company defines, creating something altogether unique and essential to the University of Minnesota.

September 27, 2006

Seas of Waste

Society, something that contains and defines our everyday life. A single word capable of unfolding a vast expanse of diverse cultures, each containing their own facets of design. These various designs of society inevitably become to define our entire society and influence our actions in productive or destructive tendencies.

American culture might not be as well defined as some, but the existence of such is undeniable regardless of it’s visibility. Even though America has some powerful and beneficial outlets of designed culture, when walking down the street or analyzing my own habits, something a little darker comes to mind. Garbage. Simple, blunt, and effective. The trash that is created by our singular society is overwhelming, in both a psychological and environmental standpoint. Landfills are “filling?, and natures paying the toll.

This apparent, but suppressed, knowledge leads to the design issue in which I would like to see some progress made. Unelaborated, the single use customs of our society needs to be changed. This is what I advocate.

As with all change, there are those in opposition. The American economy, for one, would cry in outrage at such an act. The backbone of our economic success has been on the ideals of onetime use, mass produced, and replaceable items. With millions of people following these ideals, fuelled by the burning combustion engine which is wealth, change seems unachievable. One of many large flaws consuming the human race is its apparent inability, or interest, to view life in more than a one-hundred year span. Listing these facts doesn’t mean I function outside of them, but it needs to be understood that without a new designed method of change, change will never occur. I’m positive that a homeostasis in society and environment can and has to be reached. It’s currently a problem of initiation.

Fixed Paint Night Cruise 068.JPG

It may be, and certainly feels, weird to criticize something that I adore so much, but in truth freedom will be the bane of all attempts to fix the spreading organism which I’m defined by. Nature will contain us, but there will be costs in our containment, human costs. It just depends when we want to react or face that barrier, now or in a couple hundred years. My shell might never see that day, but why not try to react now?

September 20, 2006

Midtown’s Momentous Markets

Energy, be it easily perceived or intangible, is a term that we have all encountered. After visiting the Midtown Market, my natural senses could feeling the apparent energy surrounding me. Before I decided to delve into the subject any further I thought I’d start at the basics, the dictionary’s definition of the term energy. Something as simple as rediscovering a word has the power to solidify old views and create new ones, an action that is deemed a form of energy within itself. After reading the multiple definitions of energy described, I found both the strict physical definition and the more appropriate general reference. The physics definition fitted the term into the equation, “The capacity to do work?, while the general definition simple said, “The ability to do things.? It became apparent that if I was trying to observe “things?, the Twin Cities was a great place to be; more specifically the Midtown Market.

With the broad definition in hand, the observed energy at the Midtown Market became quite hard to fully analyze. Everything from the exchange of money to the inflation of balloons was unfolding before my eager eye, waiting to be processed. In hope of simplifying my studies, I came up with three distinct forms of energy, or subsections, the energy of interaction, the energy of thought, and the less tangible energy of space. All of these forms of energy are intertwined, but separated they became easier to examine.

The energy of interaction was the least difficult form of energy to recognize. In a physical sense it was plain to see that when somebody would move something they were transferring some of their energy to the object. This form of energy is well know, being easily created and exchanged. A good example I found was in the playing of a musical instrument. The guitarist present at the market would create a form of energy through his guitar and exchange it to the surrounding people, something that was quite agreeable.

Energy behind thought also wasn’t hard to find in existence, having some feelings of my own, but the first time I saw an easy way to describe the energy was through a game of chess two merchants were playing. This event was in part energy of interaction, but the bulk of the effect took place in the mind. A series of thought patterns that were occasionally expressed by the movement of chess pieces, an action that would reproduce the thought patterns in the opponent. There was an enjoyable moment when I noticed a group of people discussing local business matters. The people in the conversation would create and exchange thoughts and verbal energy throughout the table; something that, hopefully, takes place in our lives everyday.

Finding the energy behind the use of space was easy to notice, but less to define. When I would walk into an empty space my body would easily distinguish the difference between my current location and the bustling merchant stands, but how could that be described in terms of energy? I determined that space is an element of energy that has effects solely on those capable of thought. For example an object at rest, such as a pencil, in the middle or a room is unaffected by things such as the amount of clutter or height of the roof. The pencil simply remains in place until it is forced into an interaction with its surroundings. In contrast the amount of clutter or height of a building can have potentially influential effects on an organism capable of thought. Even though this definition is limited and partially inaccurate, I think it fits my opening studies in the category of space well, an undoubtedly evolving view.

I ended my studies that day enjoying a piece of pizza, a banana, and some Pocky with friends. My own little slate of energy.