archiving: observation of growth through time –or, should I say phone?

Among others, I am a total nerd for archiving. As only time can tell what is important and what isn’t, it is my firm belief that everything should be preserved, classified, re-observed, thus periodically evaluated. There is so much knowledge to be gained via a fresher perspective; time has the ability to filter graciously even the most grainy matters. Every time I am going through my archives in hope of observation of growth, what strikes me the most is the previously invisible consistency with which I have been expressing myself. During my latest casual dig, I found an essay dated in November 2014, written in the same inquisitive style as the edits. For today’s edit, I am sharing with you these old, yet contemporary thoughts.

“Late last night, I came across one of my biggest fears: the iPhone black screen of death. When I realised that I couldn’t resuscitate my phone from the dreadful abyss in which it had sunk, I completely panicked. After trying all known to tech mankind tricks, I finally realised that there was only one solution: restoration to original settings. I comforted myself, “Pull your shit together, how bad could it be?”, and hit the button before getting any chance for second thoughts.

Unfortunately, what followed was not what I had expected. I held the device in my hand, entered the safety password, and looked at the screen: it was as if I had entered a time machine. There I was, with every detail of my life as it was 1 year ago. Time had frozen on November 2013; I was still 26, my hair half-bleached, 1 year short of experience, and still in a tormenting sense of chaos. This virtual bending of time, led me to another shocking realisation: this phone had become my avatar, my life’s cloud, my memory hard drive, and it was making no mistakes in showing all the grainy details I was at times trying hard to avoid.

Have you ever wondered what your phone means to you? Have you ever realised how much of you is in it? Or, why you wear it like a glove? Well, maybe you have, but I really can’t tell if any of you actually want to find out these why’s. On a personal level, I would love to know how we collectively feel about the ever mutable purpose of our digital hologram, as this gradually shapes with our direct consent and indirect data contribution.

Through my eyes, we have so much to learn by observing the human race; a great mammal in every way, gifted by Mother Nature with the greatest weapon of all time: sophisticated intelligence. This complex design has 2 main characteristics: sense and sensibility. Us people, use our awareness when trying to be logical, sensitive, or something in between. Even though this process is automated, it is far for optimal, as in the flaws of our performance lies our mortality.

Now, let’s take a look at modern smartphones. First of all, they are literally intelligent. And I mean really intelligent. They remember everything; your dad’s birthday, that essay’s deadline, that song’s name your friend Mary told you about, your contacts’ most personal data and so on; we both know that this list is in-exhaustive.

All in all, they forget nothing you wish not to be forgotten, including proof of moments you sometimes wish were forgotten. They are custom-programmed by you to meet your needs only. And now try adding to that some nuance! Your very own drama, composed of photos, laughs, music, tears, unanswered calls and messages, friends, lovers, all sorts of media, more love, more despair, vacations, your first attempt to boil eggs while being dressed as a horrible Halloween monster, and all those millions of moments locked tight (or not) in a remote memory stick far away from your brain: your phone.

I mean, wow. How can we not admire that object!? It is the best version of ourselves we could have ever envisioned! We sleep next to it, wake up by it, function with it, and cannot live without it.

But, it is indeed too good to be true. There are several disadvantages caused by this utter dependance. When was the last time you actually tried to find your way without using Google Maps? To visit a restaurant without checking its reviews? To live the moment without capturing it? To put your device out of sight? To actually switch it off?

Well, my guess is that such experiences are dated to B.P. era. By progressively assigning more and more tasks to our phone, we may be getting mentally numb. Our natural orientation gets atrophied, our eyes are accustomed to confining pixels rather than the comfortable, boundless horizon, even our scent of smell can get demoted due to inactivity.

Physical activity is equally affected, as we no longer work out for the thrill of sweat, but for the incentive of the latest work-out stats app. Instead of thinking or acting, we just spread our hand towards our phone. Are you maybe looking at your device with slightly more scepticism? I certainly would like to believe so.”

Evidently, the topic of digital codependency has been troubling me ever since, for almost 8 years now. The most worrisome aspect is not the useful tools of the digital realm, but the entertaining ones. Or, to put it best, how primarily useful tools have gradually turned into toxically entertaining ones. Food for thought for the next edit. Have a lovely Sunday.


internal literature

zombie scrolling: the mindless reality of the scrolling addiction, liberalvirtue

external literature

What are Archives, King’s College

The Archival Paradigm: The Genesis and Rationales of Archival Principles and Practices, Clir

Philosophy’s first steps, Aeon

Philosophy tool kit, Aeon

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