Longs

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” ~ John Muir, Our National Parks (1901)

See also THIS POST.

Technology can make us feel big, strong, and in control. Enough data and computing and the world appears solvable. And a lot of important problems have been solved. Our lives are better in many ways. But that’s led to hubris (rampantly so in some sectors). And hubris generally proceeds the fall (as it’s said). That might be fine if the hubristic offenders felt the weigh of their actions, endured the consequences, and had to adjust accordingly.  Unfortunately, the most vulnerable, those with the least power and resources, are disproportionately hurt by techno-hubris-ism. Also unfortunate: I spend more time in the tech-hubris camp than I’d like to admit.

But then there’s Longs. I’ve spent many nights in this camp, too. Longs makes me feel small, fragile, and slightly out-of-control. At a formative time in my life, a journey up and down this physical and metaphorical space confronted me with failing, awkwardness, disequilibrium, and ultimately grace. The journey started with a lot of false humility and ended with a little humility. Climbing Longs made me smaller.

I’ll probably spend much of my life exploring the complex ways in which technologies affect our identities, relationships, and ways of learning and knowing; finding ways for technology to support growth and solve some problems. More difficult, I think, will be the work of fully embracing how acute is my need to be small, to stay small. I think I’m more useful when I’m small.

“Lie down among the pines for a while then get to plain pure white love-work to help humanity and other mortals.” ~ John Muir, The National Parks and Forest Reservations (1896)

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