Software is eating our world but it’s feeding our brains, and we can’t get enough, we can’t stop eating, can’t stop consuming, all that data, everything we think, do, say, see, read, hear, buy, want, touch, like, everywhere we go, stop, check-in, every movement, every action, all our content, and some think this is selfish of us, that we’re consuming too much, that we should save it for the poor, but the poor already live off our scraps, like dogs sniffing day-old urine they scroll through our selfies, our shares, the music we no longer listen to, our outrage, our social media standing, opinions we once held, the detritus we serve up to our followers, it’s literally petabytes of data daily, billions of yes/no on/off 0/1 actions, more than enough for even our poorest, most marginalized to feast on, all the videos we shot, our discarded games, each with all the play-by-play recorded, many of us, like me, occasionally throw out digital books we’re never going to read, there’s our calendars for them to pick through, our emails, tens of thousands of chats, it’s like they’re living off us, hell, I’ve already thrown out more algorithms, more AI, more personal digital assistants, more video than anyone could rightfully demand, I swear I’ve lost more emoji than a dozen poor families could monetize, I know for a fact the neighbors just let their old data decompose, that’s no use for anybody, but the funny part is, people say it’s the poor that will inherit the Earth, that the marginalized are sanctified, which is just so not true, but so what if it is, I mean, here’s the thing, millions of years later and everyone’s still fascinated by dinosaurs, you know, bigger, badder, that’s what I want to be, let the poor feed off our data, let it make them strong, it won’t really change what matters most.
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
What do you deserve?
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Is consumption noble? Is denial?
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
You don’t believe in God, you do believe in science, you mock faith, glorify technology, exalt algorithms, dismiss the spiritual yet you can’t even begin to answer even basic questions about what is good, bad, right, wrong, or even how any of it should be decided.
This seems ill-advised.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round.
Janis Joplin, God love her. Was she doomed? It seems so. Dead at age 27 — at the height of her talent and popularity. She gave pieces of her heart to her fans, her friends, her art, and consumed drugs and alcohol in copious amounts, a vain effort to patch the holes and fill in the empty spaces.
All that wisdom, all her gifts, so much waste.
Is that why Baby Boomers became so power-craven, so desirous of wealth, status and objects, so eager to patch the holes? They were afraid of meeting a similar fate?
Fate found them anyways, just took a bit longer.
“It’s the want of something that gives you the blues,” Joplin said. It also drives us. Sometimes forward. But not always.
Damn, she could sing.