As a supporter of media determinism, and especially new media determinism, I could not but smile when I went to the holy temples of Angkor Wat last week. Two perceptions left impressions on my mind which I want to share with you.
First, do you know how much you depend on technology instead of your senses? If you see all these tourists – no matter where – taking pictures and loads of pictures without even recognizing the beauty of what they are shooting? In the aftermath, on their PC or Mac, they will see what they should have seen long before, when they went on their trip. The trip appears to become less important, the only thing which counts are taking pictures, pictures, pictures. Isn’t that weird? Of course, the other way around would also be disappointing. You go on trips but you are not able to show anyone what you have seen because there are no pictures. They are only in your mind and you can describe it. Ist it that bad? Not sure though. For myself, I like to have some pictures so that when I look back at my life, I know where I was, even with amnesia or just being forgetful. But should we forget the beauty of what we see for that? Not so sure. If I see something, I wanna embrace the beauty of it. I want to enjoy it. Not take pictures and then leave.
The other thing is … well maybe I am old-fashioned but what would you link to Angkor Wat in your mind? of course, after a couple of minutes of brainstorming, someone would come up with ‘monks’. Even though, there are not practicing monks living in or near Angkor Wat, there are of course monks who go there for praying, some maybe also for sightseeing. I am not sure though if they also have to pay 20 USD entry fee. Don’t think so. So, when you are walking in this beautiful place, with its magic, its spirit and a history of events that is sheer amazing, you will see some people in orange robes there. Buddhist monks. As you expected them. What I did not expect was them using a Blackberry. I mean seriously, a monk with a mobile phone? Of course, we do live in the 21st century so should they but it is still something very unusual to see. Maybe, that is the way new media is shaping the world of today.
Pixels are more important then senses and monks with mobile phones are not a headline anymore. Weird century.