Penguin Day

On one level I am excited, on another I have a sense of foreboding. For some time now I have
been frustrated with a life centered around computers. Lately I have been thinking more and more about this. It's great to do IT work for non-profits and other worthy causes, when compared to doing it for evil, money-hungry corporations. But, it's still computer work. It's still sitting in front of a screen for hours and hours and hours, when what I really want is.... something else. I'm not sure what or how.

Ever since a discussion at an indymedia media meeting last week about how to teach computer stuff to people who don't learn in standard, geekboy ways, I've been thinking about computers and just how much they cost in social and personal terms. That is, what someone has to give up in order to be proficient with computers, in one way or another. It's such a shame that computers require humans to change themselves, to adapt to the computer and how it functions, rather than the other way around, the computer adapting to the human.

I think about all the hours I have spent in my life learning or trying to learn some arcane thing to do with some bit of software or hardware, and all the hours I continue to spend doing that. And all the hours spent by all people all around the world. Everytime someone spends a moment trying to make a computer do something, that is a moment that person could be spending doing something else: having a conversation, taking a hike, swimming, reading a book, making love, going on a bike ride, tending a garden....

This is all obvious, and of course every activity is done at the expense of something else. I just feel like using a computer is one of the most soul-sucking, de-humanizing, unnatural ways to spend time. So far, I have used computers mostly because they allow me to do things I otherwise could not do, like make the kind of music or videos that I make. Maybe I need to keep that criterion more in mind as I decide what to do with my time.