My frientor (friend + mentor. I almost regret coining this already.) Tim Carmody wrote one of my favorite articles I read in the winter lull. (Aw. I miss you, winter lull.) It’s worth reading just because it’s about a great movie, Aliens, but it also contains a delicious analysis of how technology becomes culture and vice versa:
More significantly, as Ripley is on the verge of escaping the airlock, the alien queen grabs her by the ankle. Improbably, Ripley holds herself on the ladder, with an enormous alien pulling her through a near-vacuum. What finally gives isn’t her body or the queen’s, but the object that mediates them: Ripley’s shoe.
That’s what technology is. It’s the world of things, some impossibly stupid, some smarter than we are, we have assembled around ourselves to cover over our fundamental weaknesses as a species. The strength we have, the advantage this gives us, is our ability to stand apart from the things we’ve made: to use them and set them aside; to make them prosthetic extensions of ourselves and to let them go.
Forget it. There’s nothing I can add to this post, just go read it.