Zooming to the Moon
As I read Norman Mailer’s Of a Fire on the Moon, this description of astronaut Neil Armstrong caught my eye:
Armstrong, sitting in the commander's seat, spacesuit on, helmet on, plugged into electrical and environmental umbilical's, is a man who is not only a machine himself in the links of these networks, but is also a man sitting in (what Collins is later to call) a 'mini-cathedral.' a man somewhat more than a pilot, somewhat more than a superpilot, is in fact a veritable high priest of the forces of society and scientific history concentrated in that mini cathedral, a general of the church of the forces of technology.
Well, Mailer has a conflicted view of the technology that took us to the Moon, powers our computers, and even edits our genetic profile. He admires technology but also sees it as a threat to our humanity. Mailer fears that technology will take the poetry and mysticism out of life, becoming a substitute religion that ultimately makes humankind a cog in the machine, an afterthought rather than the center of existence. And yet he admires, almost worshipfully, that same technology.
I tend to share Mailer’s point of view although I’m probably less suspicious of technological advances. Take Zoom, for example, which we now routinely use in Old Chatham’s hybrid meetings. I’ve heard it said that you can’t really worship on Zoom, but I do it all the time. I’ve heard it said that Zoom images are no substitute for being in the same physical room; and, while that’s partly true, when I look at the face of a Friend on Zoom, I feel a living presence.
So, like Armstrong ready to blast off to the Moon, I’m always ready to turn on my computer, launch Zoom, and travel into cyberspace. I know Friends will be waiting for me there.
~ Richard Russell
Donald Newman Lathrop
3/24/2023 09:21:51 pm
Richard S Russell
3/25/2023 04:04:45 am
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