“Name leads to name leads to name leads to nameless.”
Frank Herbert

Chapter House Dune

Minor Miracle of Excess


I seem to be hammering away at Apple lately. I don’t get up in the morning thinking about Apple at all, yet they are consistently popping up even in my limited information consumption stream … so they are asking for it. This time in an article titled Apple’s Fashionable Seduction:

“The iPad maker is leading a subtle change in the tech industry which has one simple goal: getting consumers to buy more

… For most people, a modern tablet computer or operating system is a minor miracle of excess, able comfortably to accomplish every daily digital task demanded of it. But what we merely do is no longer the key factor. Far more significant is the way that owning and using these objects makes us feel: status, self-expression and how we would like to be perceived by others.

… The conveniences of a compliant technology press are not to be underestimated. But there is a still more significant aspect to being a lifestyle brand within the digital space, closely related to something I call emotional obsolescence: the point at which a purchase stops imparting the gratification it first afforded.

… Hence the heady ecstasy of the modern product launch – and the fact that the best generator of technological profit margins in 2012 isn’t features or value for money, but the very fact that there is another model out there which is newer and different. It is an emotional experience that money most certainly can buy.

There’s an important warning in all this. As MIT professor Sherry Turkle puts it, in her recent book Alone Together, “Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities.” More than ever, we need to make sure we know what we’re really signing up for when we plug into these new seductive lifestyles. Buy and enjoy by all means. But remember: few things are more perfectly engineered to fade over time than seduction.”

… all this, I believe, comes with a terrible price to society and to the planet. Not only is it a pointless effort, but it leaves behind it a trail of destruction.

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