December 18th, 2001

into battle

Everything Becomes Normal

Maybe that's the reason why sooner or later people become unhappy even under good circumstances. If people can get used to busses that never come or gun detectors in public schools or land mines in the backyard or bad TV, then think how easy a good job, a government that doesn't throw you in jail for thinking the wrong thoughts, or an significant other who's there for you will fade into the background, as the little things start standing out from the background. We try (well OK, sometimes) to look at things objectively but our brains are happy to normalize everything to our particular situation and prejudices.

Perceptually we filter out the old and constant (or slowly changing) and are captivated by the sudden and new. That was a good thing when nature could just leap out at you and slash your throat, but maybe it's a bit of atavistic baggage when trying to function in civilization, how ever imperfect it is. (Other burdensome instincts: gorging on sugar and fat whenever you find it, trying to spread your genetic material to as many others as possible, violence 'n' stuff.)

On the other hand, time seems to be on the neophiles' side. At least right now, the rate of change seems to increase. I was just reading a children's book (dating from the early 70s) to S0 where a character got a plaster cast after breaking a bone, but I don't think I've seen anybody with that kind of cast in years. And it's not like it's ancient technology either. While technology that lives off network effects like the internal combustion engine or old computer operating systems doesn't fade away very quickly, some new things quickly conquer the old: cell phones are decimating pay phones now, for example. And I admit it: I can't wait to see what happens next.
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    Aphex Twin _drukqs_
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