In times of the nano-second and plain times of the nano-second and platforms that don’t have anything to do with political speeches but rather, operating systems, we Cree seem to have adapted seamlessly into the technological world. E-mail this and e-mail that, naughty postcards and puzzles, digital this and that, spam (not canned), click (not Klick), chit and chat… the list goes on. We are cyber-Cree from the hinterlands of the north.
Sometimes all this computing can result in the waxing, waning and yawning of the spirit, and sometimes it results in seconds of wrong passwords and forgotten aliases. That’s why I prefer simplicity in computing. The computer should never take over our time and lives, as computers were invented to make our lives easier and work for us, not occupy us forever in cyberhyper space.
That’s why I wonder if our culture can accommodate all these new fangled goodies, whether or not nature and the land can still triumph and occupy our lives as much as it should, rather than give in to the new “thingism”. Thingism is about things that we all want. New cellphone with a camera thing? Gotta get it right away. Seventy five thousand dollar SUV thing? Gotta get it. Latest in digital photography completely automatic that a simpleton could use thing? Get it. What ever it is, that thing, we all want, and it’s called thingism. Not consumerism or capitalism, but thingism.
In the old days, the Gestener was nothing more than a mechanized Gutenberg press and doled out hundreds of leaflets to the kids at school. Sometimes, the paper made it home from school in the form of a late slip, where it became handy for starting fires in the wood stove that every household had. Most times, printed paper was the highest form of technology. Everyone said that the old way of information dissemination was wasteful because it took many trees to make a book or a newspaper. But I think recycling was practiced more back then for paper than it is today.
Today, thingism comes with plastic and paper packaging, creating fodder for landfills. The latest and best thing about computers was that you can take them home. Of course, what’s a computer without that printer? Next thing you know, computers have not solved the paper problem at the office and school; it just expanded the paper problem to the home. Now, we go through more paper than ever, thanks to the new thingism technoculture concept that is seeping into our own culture and making us more dependent on information (whether or not that information is relevant remains to be seen). That’s why television is the lesser of two evils, because it only litters our minds and not the environment.
That last bastion of our culture, the hallowed hunting and harvesting grounds, already have added satellite technology, satellite dishes, satellite phones and satellite tracking collars around caribou to the long list of things that we cannot seem to live without anymore. I forecast that those popular personal communicators that SWAT teams and police wear for communications will reach the goose blind next year. I even saw a game finder that relies on heat patterns, for those too lazy to look harder for their downed or wounded game bird. What’s next, MP3 goose callers? I rest my case.