the blue pill or the red pill, neo?

An exhibit by Ashley Williams, “The Blue Pill or the Red Pill, Neo?” is a look into the future of human nature as technology advances. Through a series of questions and descriptions matched with a few of the eight pieces of artwork, the audience will be asked about how much they actually know about the advancing technology that many of them hold in their pockets. These artworks were chosen based on how they worked together as a whole to make a point about how exactly humans’ relationship with the ever advancing technology they create is affecting them. They strike feelings of loneliness, disconnections, and a never ending cycle of perpetual boredom and dissatisfaction that seems to only strike in the absence of these technologies. The audience will also be asked situational questions that will not be able to be answered in yes’s or no’s. Throughout the exhibit, there will be quotes from Marx, Lucretius, Epictetus, and Thoreau within a few of the artwork’s descriptions. These quotes will provide insight for the audience that there are age old questions about humans and technology that still cannot be answered. As the audience, go through the exhibit with an open mind. Despite the descriptions and evidence I provide with the artwork, what are some other examples of advancing technology in relation to human nature that are relatively striking? Maybe, you will be answer some of the questions I cannot at this time. You’ll have to think, possibly about things you’ve never thought about before. Perhaps it’ll change your outlook on your own lives, finding yourselves questioning things that you’ve never questioned before thus far into your lifetime. Perhaps it’ll change the course of your lives immediately. So at this time, I present to you “The Blue Pill or the Red Pill, Neo?” and I hope you enjoy!

In a media class that I've taken the spring of my sophomore year at Temple, I've learned that our lives are constantly relying on the screens in front of us instead of the actual reality happening around us. We spend more than half of our days surrounded by screens. How will this effect our future generations? "That's why you should let go of any terror of the new. But don't spit out my reason. Weigh with care" (Lucretius 70). I'm not sure that our undying need for advancement is a good thing, but according to Lucretius we should proceed to aim for advancing, but proceed with caution.
My advice is to not be blinded by the hyperreality and the simulacrum. Even though it is spoon fed to us by the media everyday and exists in our luxurious possessions, they are still not essential to living. In Chapter 3 of the Enchiridion, Epictetus states "In the case of particular things that delight you, or benefit you, or to which you have grown attached, remind yourself of what they are" (Epictetus 222). They are worldly possessions that merely distract us from the real world, and we cannot let them become our whole world. We need to appreciate the things that we need and cannot change.
We create technology to escape our realities, but we also create technology that mimics our reality, otherwise known as simulacrum. Thus birthing new technology such as video games all the way to virtual reality.
In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau states "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" (Thoreau 11). With new technologies, the absence of it makes people very uncomfortable. Those who are fortunate enough to have these technologies such as smart phones, feel as though they cannot live without them. When people are unable to use these technologies for whatever reason, they feel as though they are chronically bored or just don't know what to do, they aren't used to living that way anymore. They look for an escape anyway that they can, and that escape includes technology.
All of our attention to our screens causes a shift in our social lives, and makes them not so social. Nowadays, it's much easier to send a text rather than calling or hanging out. It's almost as if Millennials have been infected with some virus that causes us to be antisocial with people, and only allowing us to comfortably interact with screens.
For future generations, these technologies are the only things that these kids know. Which means that their advancement is vital to their education and the way that they are socialized. There have been studies on how technologies are helping/hindering them, and what's next in store for these kids. Marx states in Money and Alienated Man that "We are so much alienated from human nature that the direct language of this nature is an injury to human dignity for us" (Marx 280) You've probably heard many parents say "I was always outside playing when I was younger, we didn't have all of this!", and they're right. However, complaining about it will get us nowhere. Where do you think our future technologies will take us? Will they help or hinder us as well?
In the class I took called "Media and Society" taught by Barry Vacker, I've learned about this media model called The Network. The Network is a plexus that everyone is apart of in relation to the internet. Our screens on our phones, laptops, tablets, etc. makes us humans feel as thought we are the center of the universe, thus ignoring everything else and everyone around us. Lucretius said “The Universe itself seems to be standing still and quiet Except for any object that displays its own motion” (Lucretius 45). There is nothing special about our place in the universe, as we are just a spectacle for the entire universe.
So when we stop paying attention to the things around us, what will happen to the health of the Earth? Human activity has already been proven to be an attribute to the cause of Global warming. So where do we go from here?
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile