10VE – The Emotional Data Exchange

Is it possible that some day we could become so technologically advanced that our most treasured emotional moments could be artificially created using digital data…?

Love- in the form of 1s and 0s.

One of my fondest memories is the unsurprisingly cliched moment of my wedding day. Watching Autumn, my beautiful wife-to-be, walk down the aisle predictably drenched me in a puddle of salty eye fluids. In all sincerity, nothing beats the face to face interaction we experienced as we stared into our equally tear-streaked eyes.

To quote the prophetic warnings of a digital future:

“The more technologically advanced we are the less emotionally connected we become.”

-Some Guy

My wedding day is a testament to this paraphrased quote’s anonymous author whom clearly values the in-the-moment aroma of two people standing in the same living space.

…Though there was that one time in my senior year of high school when, alone in my kitchen, I received a phone call from my mom whom had opened an acceptance letter from UCLA for me earlier that day.

Boy was I ecstatic, defying the odds calculated by my dick-of-a-boss from Ruby’s Diner, an assistant manager whom insisted I wasn’t smart enough to surpass his own education level.

Yup-yup! That sweet justice was a moment unsurpassed. Despite being alone in my kitchen with a piece of analog plastic up to my ear I assure you the gratifying experience was not cheapened even as it was received via the nefarious beast that we call “technology.”
This past year I awaited the news with my partner-in-crime, Mark Gantt, to hear if we got nominated for our respective Streamy Awards- him as an actor, myself as director, collectively as creators- for The Bannen Way, a project three grueling years in the making. We sat in anticipation, desperate for public recognition for our noble efforts, ass halfway on the edge of my swivel chair, chin jutting forward, eyes strained open to catch every moment, and fingers and toes, crossed and cramped, as we were about to hear the results in front of my macbook pro while Shira Lazar read off the nominees… Mark’s came first…

he was indeed nominated…! relief, then…

…minutes later…

I finally hear that I’m nominated as well…! relief once again, and we both let out audible sighs of awkward enthusiasm…

Who’s to say the experience was any less emotionally valid for not having heard the news in the presence of the, albeit lovely, Shirah Lazar…?

Then again the devil’s lawyer could argue that I was, after all, in the presence of another human being which, in effect, elevated the experience…

Who knows what my unfiltered reaction would have been had I heard the news in solitary comfort? Since I recorded the event with my laptop’s digital camera I can relive how I felt in that early moment of my career for years to come.

At its essence, this moment is all encoded, captured forever, in the form of 1s and 0s, which translates to a 100% legitimate, grade-A emotional memory.
Even as I write this I just received a text message from my pregnant wife, Autumn, who tells me she landed safely in New Orleans for the Miley Cyrus movie she’s shooting and that she felt our baby kick in her belly- twice!

Thank the benevolent Lord of Techy Stuff for allowing me to stay connected to my loved ones even without being able to see the whites of their eyes. And I defy anyone to tell me that receiving emotional data via text message is not a “valid” experience.
Several haunting years ago when I thought I lost all my digital data on my computer  to a Genius Bar mishap, I had a bonafide public meltdown; I talked to managers, I pounded my fist on counters, and I paced angrily up and down the commercial throughways of The Grove…

I thought this “genius” (so deemed in Bill Gates’ humble opinion) had destroyed years of treasured moments. I imagined the forgotten photos and videos that I had to accept living without after violently stumbling through the first four stages of loss.

But what was I complaining about? These were just 1s and 0s that I was clinging to ever-so-desperately. They’re not real moments of me making goofy faces with my wife on my 30th birthday- or standing in the rain in front of the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam… they’re just digitized phonies; imposters of reality. What’s the big deal? Right…?

I fantasize about a futuristic Utopia where human brains can be implanted with computer chips- pure data in the form of 1s and 0s- that re-write over horrific scars from the past; a benevolent form of Inception that will be performed on individuals who can’t otherwise forget about being raped as a child or who simply suffer from memory loss. Who’s side is Memory on anyway, fragmented as they are- forcing you to reconsider whether or not your precious moments ever actually happened to you in the first place?!

Who’s to say if, when I was eight, my dad actually played bridge in the kitchen with a group of his African American buddies, each of them secretly cheating, talking about “…going down to the baseball DIAMOND…” or if that was just my favorite episode of the Cosby Show? I can’t accurately remember at this point!

Of course I’m just overcomplicating a simple observation about how staring at screens takes us away from human interaction. And of course this diatribe is just science fiction masturbation; we obviously can’t implement this digital fantasy because our world would be filled with constructed lies. And even if this theoretical scenario was carried out by the most ethical Platonic Guardians of our society we’d still be supporting the idea of lying to ourselves- and others… and after all… America wasn’t built on lies.

(sorry for the cheap-shot, America. If there’s a hanging curve-ball you gotta hit it)

~ JW

[sent to you by repeatedly tapping plastic square letters on a blue-toothed keyboard that feeds into a word processor and is instantly sent via magical airwaves in the form of 1s and 0s… WARNING: do not fool yourself into believing there is any authentic pleasure to be gained from reading words off of a screen]

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. I love you as a blogger! This is so your forum Jess! Love Love love the bit about your wedding. I’ll never forget that! I think you win as the most emotional guy at any wedding I’ve been to!

  2. You wouldn’t classify Oprah Winfrey as an “artist” with An Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress (The Color Purple), 31 other creatrive award wins, and 20 nominations?

    • I’ve ben trying to figure out how to move your comment under the appropriate blog “The Necessity of Narcissism.” I did respond to your post there, though. =)
      thanks Tyler!


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s