8 Bit Philosophy: Is Technology Killing Your Creativity? (Star Wars + Martin Heideigger)

What? .... I was expecting an actual discussion about "Is Technology Killing Your Creativity?" & this seems more like something to do with how one spends their free time or better tools.

Here I was about to talk about how unoriginal my "original" creative ideas are. Or how my creative ideas that double as criticism end up being my favorites.... And this.... This seems like a different topic being discussed.

Heh, braving Heidegger are we? Well, at least you had the good sense of sticking to his relatively 'simple' anti-modernist ideals. I can only imagine going into his 'Da Sein' and 'Sein um töt" and his bazillion other 'sein' things. The man was interesting, but lord his writing style ain't comprehensible.

RatGouf:
What? .... I was expecting an actual discussion about "Is Technology Killing Your Creativity?" & this seems more like something to do with how one spends their free time or better tools.

Here I was about to talk about how unoriginal my "original" creative ideas are. Or how my creative ideas that double as criticism end up being my favorites.... And this.... This seems like a different topic being discussed.

That's because philosophy often goes a lot deeper/touches a lot more fundamental things than that. And putting that in a title is pretty tough, especially if you want to make it palatable to non-philosophy students.

To be exact, this is about Heidegger's anti-modernist ways of thinking and how we've, according to him, are becoming intellectually lazy thanks to our dependence (in a way) on technology. It really does have to do with creativity and technology, but on a lot more fundamental level than most people would think.

I would give up every single advantage of comfortable modern society to go back 1000 years in time and live in North America among Amerindians. Without hesitation.

Why do art and technology have to be mutually exclusive? As far as I'm concerned, some of the most artistically breathtaking creations in the world are tools designed for a specific and mundane purpose. The Golden Gate Bridge employs suspension technology to connect two land masses in order to allow passage over a body of water. Does this fact make it artistically worthless?

NinjaDeathSlap:
Why do art and technology have to be mutually exclusive? As far as I'm concerned, some of the most artistically breathtaking creations in the world are tools designed for a specific and mundane purpose. The Golden Gate Bridge employs suspension technology to connect two land masses in order to allow passage over a body of water. Does this fact make it artistically worthless?

I don't think they are mutually exclusive, but the concept of 'efficiency' does at times conflict with other sensibilities.
I'm a student pilot.

I find most typical single-engine propeller driven aircraft to be absurdly ugly.
Why are they that ugly though? Well, the answer starts to become more apparent when you fly the things. You can build far prettier things, but more often than not they are...
- Harder to fly
- Harder (and more costly) to maintain.
- liable to be more noisy, and less safe in an accident
- use more fuel, and thus are more costly to fly.

Here you see a small subset of the nature of this question. A pretty, 'beautiful' aircraft may still fly, and even fly reasonably well. Or even amazingly well. But chances are, a butt-ugly design made with solely practical concerns in mind will outdo it in nearly every way. (and if not, it will likely be much cheaper to build.)

That's it, down to it's essence really. The ugly, lifeless, purely practical design does in fact make our lives easier, because everything about it takes less effort to use and sustain and keep going.
But... The price we pay for this is that all the artistry and joy of this thing in it's own right tends to get destroyed in the ruthless quest for efficiency.

Now, to be fair, this isn't always true. The golden Gate bridge, as you mentioned, is a largely practical design, being an expression of what was efficient and practical at the time it was made.
It has a charm to it, yes. But is this intentional? Or merely a coincidence?

Going back to aircraft for a moment, larger jets are just as much a product of brutal, relentless efficiency as the slower single engine prop driven aircraft are.

However, by a quirk of nature, 'efficient' in this case often looks far prettier than it does for the slower aircraft.
Pushing something through air at high speed requires very careful consideration of aerodynamics after all.
And as it happens, smooth, graceful shapes are both pretty, and efficient in this context.

But by their underlying nature, the design of both is not dictated by any such considerations, and is really, just an exercise in finding whatever combination is most efficient given the resources, materials, and situation you are confronted with.
Any other aspect of design seems to be an afterthought at best, more often than not.

Well, sunrises can be great.
But vaccines, CT-scans and not-not having any food because of poor cropmanagement are... a tad more important to me.

CrystalShadow:
snip

I agree insofar as efficiency is the primary concern for most man-made technology. However, if we take art back to it's original, literal meaning (aka, back to Ancient Greece) any practitioner of anything man-made was called an 'artist'. As far as they were concerned, the guy who designed the bridges was just as worthy of the name as the guy who designed the statues. I go along with that way of thinking quite a bit, and as I result I often tend to see design in artistic terms, regardless of whether or not that was the primary purpose.

This is not to say that I find everything man-made pretty (60/70's architecture in the UK is nothing less than a crime against humanity). However, I don't find efficiency to be the cause of ugliness. I think it is cheapness, especially in the age of mass production. More often than not, I find a machine that has been designed to be the most efficient, high-performance tool of its class to be inherently beautiful, because there's a pride and pursuit of excellence there in the craft that isn't so different to that of the painter and sculptor.

Take your prop-driven aircraft example: Within that class we have the Cessna, an abominable plastic white-good that just happens to also be able to fly; and the Spitfire, one of the most beautiful things ever created by man (needless to say, this is subjective, but I dare you to disagree with me :P). The Spitfire is both the more attractive and the more efficient machine, for largely the same reasons each way. Both machines, however, are art, though neither was made to be.

NinjaDeathSlap:

CrystalShadow:
snip

I agree insofar as efficiency is the primary concern for most man-made technology. However, if we take art back to it's original, literal meaning (aka, back to Ancient Greece) any practitioner of anything man-made was called an 'artist'. As far as they were concerned, the guy who designed the bridges was just as worthy of the name as the guy who designed the statues. I go along with that way of thinking quite a bit, and as I result I often tend to see design in artistic terms, regardless of whether or not that was the primary purpose.

This is not to say that I find everything man-made pretty (60/70's architecture in the UK is nothing less than a crime against humanity). However, I don't find efficiency to be the cause of ugliness. I think it is cheapness, especially in the age of mass production. More often than not, I find a machine that has been designed to be the most efficient, high-performance tool of its class to be inherently beautiful, because there's a pride and pursuit of excellence there in the craft that isn't so different to that of the painter and sculptor.

Take your prop-driven aircraft example: Within that class we have the Cessna, an abominable plastic white-good that just happens to also be able to fly; and the Spitfire, one of the most beautiful things ever created by man (needless to say, this is subjective, but I dare you to disagree with me :P). The Spitfire is both the more attractive and the more efficient machine, for largely the same reasons each way. Both machines, however, are art, though neither was made to be.

I can see your point, but I would hesitate to call a spitfire efficient... It has a huge engine, and is certainly faster, but that comes at a cost in terms of fuel usage and such.
It's curved wing design is certainly more efficient for flight performance than the alternatives, but it is also expensive, and difficult to construct.

And here we see an issue with what you are calling 'efficient', because you treat the utility of something for it's given task as independent of the difficulty and expense of making it.

When talking efficiency, a hammer that is 10% better than a competing design may indeed be more efficient if all you need is that one hammer, but if that extra 10% means you can only make 1, instead of 10 of them, then as long as you have need of more than just the one hammer, being able to make 10 good hammers is more efficient overall than being able to make just one excellent one.

If you ignore context, you distort the meaning of efficency.
(this is what I meant when I said that you might be able to make a beautiful prop aircraft that still performs well. It will nnonetheless likely come at some cost that will undermine it's effectiveness compared to the alternatives)

To give a different example, consider the me 262. Germany's jet fighter. The world's first operational jet fighter.
It was vastly superior to anything in the skies at the time.
But... It was so difficult to build, and such a stretch of Germany's (by that time, shattered) resources, that it barely mattered. There simply weren't enough of them to make any difference.
Even though individually they were more efficient, collectively they were practically useless, thanks to the complexity of building them in a resource poor nation that was under constant attack.

In my case, Clinical Depression is the thing killing my creativity.

That aside... this guy's case seems to rest heavily on projecting, assumptions of a particular extreme utilitarian outlook being a little more omnipresent than I see sufficient evidence for, and the occasional bit of specious reasoning.

I will agree that the intent behind a technological innovation and how it is used are potentially more dangerous than a piece of technology itself, but this dystopic scenario he presents could be perceived as having a grain of "the damn kids today" thinking in it, or at the very least, somewhat more general paranoia than is healthy.

Leon Royce:
I would give up every single advantage of comfortable modern society to go back 1000 years in time and live in North America among Amerindians. Without hesitation.

I can see the appeal, though what about getting sick, injured, or getting cancer? Being a slave to the land for a survival, all the mystical superstition surrounding creation, painful rites of passage, and the constant inter-tribal blood feuds? Live among the natives wasn't exactly like the Na'vi. It's been heavily romanticized.

As someone who got cancer in their 20's and having a desire to know how the universe works, I'm loving technology in most of its forms and put its value on par with art and natural world. A balance can be had and history has too many negatives for me to want to go back to more primitive times permanently.

As a 3D artist, technology is enabling my creativity, just like Chia seeds are enabling cooks to be artistic with the garnishing. Creativity isn't killed by technology, it's born from it; just by different people than those enframing, people who don't completely understand what a thing does, the users.

I know my understanding of Heideigger's arguments are lacking, due to only having watched a heavily summarized video about him, but it does seem like nearly everything discussed on this website contradicts his arguments. Perhaps he could've benefited from playing video games?

One criticism I have about these videos is that they don't specify very well what the philosopher's context was or when they were from, which is pretty much essential for understanding any philosopher.

Nurb:

Leon Royce:
I would give up every single advantage of comfortable modern society to go back 1000 years in time and live in North America among Amerindians. Without hesitation.

I can see the appeal, though what about getting sick, injured, or getting cancer? Being a slave to the land for a survival, all the mystical superstition surrounding creation, painful rites of passage, and the constant inter-tribal blood feuds? Live among the natives wasn't exactly like the Na'vi. It's been heavily romanticized.

As someone who got cancer in their 20's and having a desire to know how the universe works, I'm loving technology in most of its forms and put its value on par with art and natural world. A balance can be had and history has too many negatives for me to want to go back to more primitive times permanently.

Native American shamanic healing arts are thousands of years more advanced than anything we have today, and nobody knows this.

I am a practitioner of Natem Shamanism (South American), which cured me a host of 'in-curable' conditions, including suicidal depression, PTSD and mild-schizophrenia, as well as scoliosis, chronic sinus problems and a host of smaller conditions like allergies and the like. I was an extremely sickly person, and told by doctors that I was just genetically unlucky and there was nothing that could be done. I spent my teen years on Prozac and mood stabilizers. And then I was cured in a matter of a few weekends. Now, I haven't been to a pharmacy in three years and feel the best I've ever felt.

Concerning illness, getting cancer in western society for most is a long drawn out chemical death sentence. Western society does not have a good cure for cancer, it does not even know what cancer is:

Is it a virus? Make a vaccine. Is it random chance? Just cut it out. Is it genetic? Out of ideas...

Or they'll test people for cancer by making them swallow a radioactive egg, or intravenously injecting them with radioactive fluoride the way they did my dad. I doubt exposing every cell in your body from the inside with radiation is healthy and good.

I am of course very happy you were able to get through yours, but this myth that medicine did not exist anywhere in any culture before the 18th century European cultures invented it through physical science is a total myth, one that almost everyone (including me until a few years ago) believe. In fact, this is one of two areas in our culture where one could say that actual white supremacist myths endure, the other being archeology.

For example, part of Natem shamanism involves the use of Tobacco as a medicinal plant. Any American will have heard from some documentary on Native Americans how they used Tobacco this way, but no one ever stops to ask how a plant that kills millions could be used medicinally and ceremonially without killing them or addicting them.

Pure, unadulterated Tobacco, fermented and made into a tea, becomes one of the most powerful anti-septic medicines in existence. The Shuar of Ecuador have been using it for at least 4000 years (written record), and possibly going back to their arrival in South America, tens of thousands of years before that. Anti-biotics were not first discovered in the 19th Century, they were first discovered for European cultures in the 19th Century. Druidic cultures used mushrooms for their antibiotic properties as well, where we get most our our anti-biotics now.

As for being a slave, we are slaves to our system as well, though our air is unbreathable, our water is filled with chemicals, our food is only food technically, we are born into debt, we have the first twenty years of our lives taken away by force through schooling, and way too many people spend their lives doing jobs they don't enjoy simply because they have to make a living.

I would rather live in pristine nature, work four hours a day rather than eight and have my childhood back. As an ardent spiritual practitioner, of course, living in a culture where that is central is my biggest appeal naturally. I understand why western urbanites would have no desire to try that out.

"Necessity is the mother of invention".
It's not the exact same thing, since we're talking about creativity, but they do go hand in hand.

On the up side, people are (very) slowly realizing that our lives are losing meaning in the drudgery of 8 hour work days, five days a week, pushing paper around and responding to an endless wave of emails. Add to that, that there is less and less work for people to actually do and unemployment will steadily increase, you have to restructure the way the world works.

Political parties have begun forming to pave the way to 20 work weeks and basic income and along with that a more philosophical way of life will follow, as people suddenly find themselves with a lot more time on their hands to explore who they are.

Creativity isn't gone and if anything, the average man now has more time for it than ever, or at least the choices in life to pursue art or invention if they want to. Technological progression has enabled us to do that.
I would say that the connection to the rest of the world is what is stifling creativity, as things are less and less impressive when your work is compared with thousands of others, thousands of miles away.

 

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