Will the Digital Age Destroy Creativity?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by coberst, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Please. Can you direct me to the forum where this 'smartness' is exhibited. I can hardly wait.
     
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  3. John99 Banned Banned

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    people have been saying that for thousands of years.
     
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    One source of potential worry: the virtual environment is bleak and featureless, with much less in the way of overtones and subliminally perceived complexities.

    Even the music and such - tiny speakers, tiny screens, compressed volume range and frequency response, resolution and detail nowhere near comparable with even the least varied natural environment
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I'm not sure I completely understood your sentence between the third and fourth comma, but... So far the major examples of political leaders being threatened by post-industrial technology--to the extent of attempting to censor the internet--are in despotic regimes such as China and Iran. They can hardly be labeled "liberal."
    Apparently you've never played a MMORPG. One of the reasons children find them so seductive is that they offer more avenues for creativity and imagination than the environment their parents and teachers provide.
    I see that growing up in the pre-digital era was not a great boon to your imagination.

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    It took me about ten minutes to figure out how to cable my computer into my stereo, so it's playing through two 48-inch Carver ribbon loudspeakers. I can't get my own bass guitar amplifier to sound that good in a live performance. Wall-size screens are already available, they're just not quite cheap enough yet for home installation, but the price will halve every two years just like every other technology. The pixel density will obviously increase once we all have them and want better resolution. You can see this world on TV shows like "NCIS" and it's hardly far-fetched.
     
  8. Enmos Staff Member

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    And it has always been true.
     
  9. Enmos Staff Member

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    Compared to no society

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  10. Pronatalist Registered Senior Member

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    Actually, most internet forums would likely qualify. Can you balance a checkbook? If so, you are likely more qualified to hold a political office, than most of the politicians in Congress, who haven't passed a balanced budget in decades.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That's not what's been the norm in my town for the past twenty years.

    The kids are listening to music on their mp3 players through earbuds (the sound through earphones doesn't change via head position, note) watching movies on screens with about a hundredth the resolution of the human eye and less than 2% of their visual field, having their attention moved by a camera instead of having their brain actively exploring their visual field, and so forth.

    I'm not saying there's no upside, but it's mostly unrealized potential, and the loss of input complexity in the visual and aural fields - compared with a swing and a little yard, say - is large and realized fully.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Then they go home and play MMORPGs, which require more imagination, creativity and initiative than most of the jobs we adults slave at.

    I'm a musician and I've never been bothered by the dynamic reference frame of headphones, although I see your point. It seems to me like a fair tradeoff for the ability to actually hear it clearly without filtering through 70db of ambient noise. I'm sure it wouldn't take much to add an inertial sensor to a set of headphones that could maintain a constant reference frame.

    As for the tiny screens, that's a casualty of their multitasking skills which are far superior to ours, especially males.
     
  13. Enmos Staff Member

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    Fraggle, what I meant is that our societies have grown out of proportion. They can not be supported in any natural way.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Out of proportion to what?
    As I pointed out in another thread, it could be argued that civilization itself is not "natural," since it is the invented technology of "city building."

    Many specific aspects of post-Mesolithic human life are clearly unnatural. The Agricultural Revolution with its large permanent villages, and then civilization itself, require the overriding of our "natural" instinct to live in small bands of nomadic extended-family units, regarding other bands as hated competitors for scarce resources. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

    Cooked food, music, weatherproof clothing and houses, companion animals, wheels, written language... there's a list too long to write, of technologies that are, by definition, unnatural. Yet even Baron Max would have a hard time arguing that they have not made our lives immeasurably better.
     
  15. Cellar_Door Whose Worth's unknown Registered Senior Member

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    What's DeviantArt then? Or Fictonpress.com?

    I see your point, but 'soma' is a completely ridiculous comparison. Mobile phones are incredibly useful and so are iPods - I don't believe that we should regress back in order to 'protect' society from them.
    After all, it's the materialistic nature of people who ARE obsessed with these gadgets who are the problem.

    And they have always been correct. It doesn't mean we should ignore the ills of society just because they have always been there in one form or another.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Wolves, cetaceans, probably the majority of the more advanced primates, and in fact by definition every pack-social species form societies. Even the flock- or herd-social species like bison and macaws do it. We could stand to be a tiny bit more precise with our terminology here.

    If people mean "civilization," literally the technology of building and operating cities, then they should say so. Otherwise they seem to be objecting to our Neolithic ancestors forming "societies," building houses to survive the next cold wave and raising crops to survive the next poor hunting season.

    I guarantee there were a lot of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who were convinced mankind was doomed, when the first one of them figured out how to cultivate fig trees 11,500 years ago. So the people who still complain about "progress" come from a long and honorable line of ancestors... all of whom were wrong.

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  17. Enmos Staff Member

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    As in not in harmony with nature. We can only sustain ourselves through unnatural processes. And nature is suffering the consequences right now. And we will as well.

    Most people would agree that we have made our lives immeasurably better. I 'm not sure I can argue with that either. But what about the rest of the world ? The way I see it it's definitely not doing better because of us, very much the opposite. And I think it is rather shortsighted to think that it won't have a negative effect on humanity eventually.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Fortunately the world is not a creature so it has no rights we need to respect. All we have to do is keep it in good enough shape to live here. I certainly agree with the general Western opinion that we should not go around obliterating species and destroying ecosystems, but that's very much like my feeling of not wanting my view ruined. It's a value judgment based partially on aesthetics, partially on the philosophical overlay I put on the world, and partially on the hunch that some day we'll need those missing genes for something really important. Our sun is halfway through its service life and within one billion years this planet will become so hot that all its water will boil. Clearly what we've done to it won't really matter in the cosmic long run.
    Fortunately we're not all shortsighted. But I don't just see beyond my own life, I see hope there. Arguably our biggest problem is population increase, and with the steady drop in its second derivative it's predicted to stabilize in less than a hundred years and then start decreasing. The second biggest problem is energy and the means to solve it are already available. (Nuclear power in the short run while we're building orbital solar energy collectors.) It will be fascinating, I'm sure, to see how long humanity puts up with the petro-conspiracy between energy corporations and the Middle East's oil producers before they launch the solar collector project--much less before Americans get off their (oil) cans and get over their little snit about nuclear power.
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    There's an upside, no doubt.

    But the loss of complexity in the ambient input, the reduction of subliminal and overtone complexity, is just as obvious. There's a downside, and the effects are going to be there, whatever they turn out to be.

    There aren't very many pixels on that screen or harmonics and range in that soundtrack compared with a small pond in the woods and nothing obviously going on, say.
     
  20. Otaku Registered Member

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    Lol what are you talking about? The digital age for me Enhanced my imagination.
    "OMG THE NEW STUFFS WILL MAKE PEOPLE NOT FINK!!!!" that is a stupid way of thinking
    People always thought that when new technology came out. i'm forever thinking of new inventions and ways to do things. Please... Think about this stuff it's stupid.

    Thinking and imagination will forever be in the human mind.
     
  21. Enmos Staff Member

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    The world is not a creature, granted. But I was talking about the millions and millions of other species we share this world with. We can't just go around destroying what took billions of years to develop. It just seems wrong.
    Also, I think the Earth itself very much demands our respect. Creature or not.

    That's a dangerous view there Fraggle. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but some may use it as an excuse.

    Not all people are shortsighted but, sadly, most are.
    I'm not as optimistic as you are. I think the population will always be too large; decreasing or not our population and its needs will continue to harm the environment.
    I agree the future will be interesting in a macabre sort of way..
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    One comparison might be with literacy. The illiterates who first encountered literacy as adults, throughout history, have remarked on its downsides - and they were right.

    Literacy reduces rote memory, on average, for example.

    The upsides were worth it, we say. But it's a judgment call, and it did not have to be so.

    I notice the downside of the new digital age - the tiny screens, the low-fi music, the generally simplistic and cartoonish visual environment, the passivity and the lack of complexity in the sensory interactions with the environment, the lack of complexity in the written language of expression, the reliance on pictures and cartoons in motion for communication - to the point that characteristic errors or illusions of such a mode of communication (the "heavy boots" confusion, shooting down satellites, direction of a comet's tail) are well known.

    Sensory deprivation is a real phenomenon. There is no reason to assume insignificance of a systematic simplification of the sensory environment.

    We know that rats kept in simplified, bleak environments suffer a loss of innovative approach, learning ability. Industrial school designs are famous for at least seeming to stifle creativity in children.

    The guy who said "nothing worth reading was ever written by someone who was typing with their thumbs" had a point.

    No doubt there is and will be an upside. But the downside is there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I stated my agreement with you on that. But it's difficult to enshrine it as anything more than a romantic point of view.
    I guess you're saying that the truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands... or minds?

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    One of the primary reasons for the institution of government, going all the way back to the cusp of the Neolithic Era and the Dawn of Civilization, is that since it has a longer life than its individual constituents, it not only can but should adopt a longer-term view. Unfortunately in America we've entered an era in which our governments focus only on the next election. I think this is the result of the power and influence of corporations, with their focus on the next stockholders' meeting instead of long-term success. As I have noted elsewhere, I believe that the role of those "artificial personss" in the economy, and therefore in politics, will decrease drastically in the Post-Industrial Era. The massive concentrations of capital needed for Industrial Era projects like transcontinental railroads and telephone networks strung on millions of dead trees will not be as necessary, and the ponderousness of large organizations will be a handicap in most endeavors. So we may also see a normalization in the focus of our governments as well, back to the purpose they were supposed to serve.
    In the same series of posts I've pointed out that one of the major dimensions of the vector of our negative impact on the environment is our energy appetite. One fourth of America's petroleum consumption is expended directly on commuting, not counting second-order effects like the proliferation of fast food outlets and nannies driving all over town taking care of parentless children. The Post-Industrial Era has already ushered in the age of telecommuting, something an increasing portion of the U.S. workforce could do effectively with a little attitude adjustment, if only their managers could figure out how to manage people they can't see. When the kids with cellphones, chat rooms and MMORPGs grow up and take over leadership of the economy, they'll wonder why their ancestors believed they had to "go to work" every day. Both the decrease in energy consumption and the decrease in travel, with all the infrastructure it requires, will help improve our footprint on the environment.
    Remember the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live during interesting times."
     

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