June 16, 2022


Artificial constructs in our lives

Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash
Photo by Md Mahdi / Unsplash

Knowing but not knowing...

I wrote in my last blog post about a love affair with the Macintosh computer. That article lead to me thinking. In our interconnected world we feel, sometimes, a link with someone, who you are incredibly unlikely to meet. I never met Steve Jobs, but felt a strange kinship with him.

Through his companies genius, I had become a member of the cult of mac. Leander Kahney's first book Cult of Mac showed how people showed their kinship, their acquaintance with what is just, a silicon heart. A thing of pure logic, that has no real soul to it?

But, does the 'Mac' have a soul? Obviously not, but it has a sense of quality about it, and that percieved quality makes people feel special, part of a group of likeminded people. And that is the genius of the product. It makes people feel special. That is the genius of the marketing construct that is Apple.

You have to add into the mix the design element. Something that made the products of Apple feel like an object of desire. Very slick, and very, very clever.

So let's move on, and look at how we connect to total strangers on the internet. I am a YouTube junkie. I rarely watch television, and follow quite a few people on YouTube. Through 'following' you think that you get to know the person you are watching. As an ex actor I know instinctively that the people I watch are playing a part, they are trying to entertain. And often they do. But you feel a connection with them a constructed sense of knowingness. A strange thing really? Or is it something new?

If we we look at history then this feeling of kinship, is not, actually, a new phenomenon. Recently I have become more aware that people who watch soap operas have a similar feeling of kinship. The people who we interact with on televison soap operas sometimes become part of our media lives and when one of our favourite characters dies on screen, or in real life, we have a strange sense of loss, and we followers go into a sense of mourning for that 'deceased' character.

And so when Steve Jobs died, we who folowed him, mourned his passing. Someone who we never knew, a man who played his part, and what an amazing and sometimes inspiring part he played. And to end this blog post, do what Steve Jobs once said. Do what you love...