Social media is a complete dumpster fire of idiocy and fallacy. However, nothing is truly new, idiocy and fallacy have followed us all of our days. But what is truly sad is the loneliness, alienation, and lack of influence in our impatient digital age. Perhaps it’s time for the resurrection of analog. And yes, I do recognize the irony of this being a digital post shared through social media.
Is it time for an analog reformation? Let me be clear, to embrace analog is not to embrace nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia. There is no goal of rolling back the digital age to some arbitrary point in the past where things were “better.” Whatever point we would pick, we are not willing to sacrifice the improvements that innovation and technology have brought society. Nor is embracing analog about freezing the status quo, halting the digital age where it stands and refusing to innovate or progress. There is no clearly defined status quo to preserve.
Rather, as we indulge our digital urges, might we come to a fuller awareness of all the nuance of the analog world? Every new digital proficiency reveals two or three analog experiences or responses that we’d never really been aware of, that we had taken for granted. Appreciation and intentionality of analog experiences might just bring us deeper connection to the world in which we live.
Furthermore, analog is very human as it deals with our condition with honesty. We encounter variation minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, month to month, year to year. Digital is less human, it’s in love with data, accuracy, and has an intolerance for variances. It seeks to manage. Humans and the human experience have proven difficult to manage. We are inaccurate beings, but also beautifully nuanced. We can be both short sighted and wise, impatient yet honorable, sinful and saintly and everything in between, which gives life purpose and meaning.
So here are some suggestions for embracing analog.
First, embrace the human experience fully. Humanity will never be fully digital nor should it be. Life is more full and free when analog and digital are balanced. Get outside, go to the concert, the ballgame, or live theater. Eat something indulgent now and then, play a board game. Analog will bring experiences that a digital rendering will always lack.
Secondly, don’t settle for mere digital descriptions of reality. The essence of analog is direct and present without the need for translation. Most of human history has been experienced in analog and their lives were just as full as any in the digital age. The description of truth will never be as real as the experience of truth.
Finally, don’t be seduced by the digital siren call. Digital is not all that revolutionary, and the latest, greatest next digital advancement is not going to fundamentally change anything. Beware that unbalanced digital consumption can blur our very real senses and numb us to analog living. Digital will always be easier to measure and we live in a time where measurement is itself a quasi-religious act that’s easy to control. Humans are created to be free. With freedom comes the unpredictable, the gift of surprise. Digital is a fake sovereign, we should resist the urge to bow before it. Embrace analog, you might just find something real in the some of the simplest experiences.