Progress

I’ve been thinking lately, are we really making progress in the 21rst century? What do we value anymore? What is permissible? What shocks us? These questions have been rolling around in my noggin for a day or so. i suppose the impetus for this kind of circular thought was when i was looking through an Ansel Adams website the other day and I started thinking to myself that the value on these kind of photographs at the time, was much higher than a photograph of the same scene today. That is why his shots still sell for a staggering 35,000 dollars each, some even more. When he was shooting, far fewer people had seen the kind of scenes that he had captured in the aperture of his 35mm. (not to leave out that he was a brilliant photographer, but you understand where i’m going) Now, everyone has a digital camera. The Internet can access these kinds of scenes at a whim. If you want to see Egypt just turn on Discovery Channel and you can be there in better than reality HD. Or buy a plane ticket there on Orbitz literally within seconds.

What i’m saying i guess is that everything seems so accessible, and so available. Everyone can be a photographer or a writer (i.e. this blog). Does so much availability diminish the value of it? Again, with little or no discipline required to obtain it, does that cheapen the impact of it?
Now days we are shocked by little, and can access practically anything (or the digital representation of it). We have the attention span of a gnat, and TV caters to this. Horrific school shootings we shrug off with an attitude of malaise and mild annoyance. Five years ago, we recoiled in horror. Now we just assume it’s commonplace. Nothing shocks, nothing stimulates.

I feel like society at some point, is going to have to digress. We are going to have to go back to the basics in order to find any real value or significance in anything anymore. Nothing seems to phase us, neither affirming nor disapproving of it. We as a society seem so unaffected. So anesthetized and numb. We are slowly becoming so homogenized. The sexes, the races, we all have access to the same information…diversity and unique experience is fading away… nothing is new under the sun i suppose…

I guess that sooner or later we have to go back to the beginning…i don’t know…more on this later…got to clear my head…

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2 thoughts on “Progress

  1. SilverTiger says:

    Your post gives rise to thought, so thanks for that 🙂

    A couple of things occur to me. Firstly, I think we have to beware of lumping the entire population of the earth into one amorphous lump called “we”, and engaging in some sort of joint guilt trip. “I” and “you” can still have our our own thoughts, be shocked or seek our own values and try to influence what is done in our name by politicians.

    Secondly, paintbrushes are as numerous as digital cameras and have been around for far longer but I don’t see millions of Van Goghs, El Grecos and Rembrandts displaying their works on the Web and elsewhere. A digicam is only a tool: anyone can take a photograph but only an artist can take a good photograph. (And if digicams make it easier for artist-photographers to take good photos, shouldn’t we be glad?) I agree that accessibility can dull the palate – but only if “you” and “I” let it. “You” and “I” can be discriminating and seek the gems among the dross.

    Cheers,
    Tiger

  2. mrparks says:

    Hey thanks for your thoughts…
    The “we” simply refers to the proverbial we in society, as in most of the dull, lemming-like humans walking around. You and I obviously don’t have to take offense and feel that we are included in this, for the very reason that we are entertaining these ideas. Most of the “we” would never even give topics such thought.
    As far as my post goes, it was kind of just a little rambling about the progress of society in general with digital cameras as a starting point. It is certainly not a critique about art or what is considered art. I know the difference between a good photograph and a photograph. I also know that if you google Van Gogh that you can see virtually everything he’s painted without going to the Louvre.
    I guess my point is what you seemed to agree with, is that accesibility does dull the palate (and it most definately does not have to) and we are exposed to so much and bombarded with so much that eventually i feel like we will lose the ability to be surprised anymore -or entertained for that matter…
    Not to disparage digital cameras or the internet – i use them everyday and am grateful for the technology and progress that has made these things possible; it’s just that progress on a large scale sometimes scares me into thinking that there will be nothing left to discover. It’s the “is anything sacred anymore?” thing.
    I definately agree that we “can can still have our our own thoughts, be shocked or seek our own values” and that is why i write these posts, of course…it’s all just food for thought, and i’m certainly not trying to force feed my ideas or neurosis on anyone.

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