Sword vs Screen

a little while ago, on OWNI I believe, I cam across an article commenting on a “threat” I had never recognized as such: the dissolution, the distribution of power among many powerful men rather than one. Their point was to say that this process then makes stopping an harmful situation becomes much harder since they are harder to recognize, and have many heads.

A similar conclusion came to me when our teachers’ friend explained to us that in shogun times, when the tea room we were sitting in had been conceived, it could only room so many people, who each lord would have to leave their sword outside in a gesture of understanding but also trust. As we (perhaps twice as many people as were meant for that room) all rushed in, an army of lenses rose like a firing squad and fired.

Yes, it is true we do not carry swords anymore, but is the camera or phone not the same? By keeping our phone firmly gripped in the palm of our hand, snapping away at the slightest drop of life offered to us, we lay a wall, not a single blade but a whole fence of them between a space and us, others and us, life and us. This wall in many ways is like a distribution of the threat, a seemingly innocuous evolution of the definition of “peaceful,” and of the notion of trust. Many of my friends, myself included, have described feeling naked when having forgotten their phone for the day, or when it would run out of battery at the start of the day. The same words were used to describes the war lords then: they felt naked.

When do we ever allow ourselves to feel naked anymore? Even in the morning the phone awaits to wrap you in a silky veil of information overload…

Can we hope to become adequately naked again in our lifetime?


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