The zombifying obligation to squint at screens forever

Our apparently civilised and developed 21st Century obligation to squint at a variety of screens for the majority of our waking lives is exhausting and horrible.  Whether it’s a television, cinema, PC, tiny laptop screen or mobile phone, the new media age has beckoned in and enforced a soul-sapping, practically permanent dependence on various assemblies of almost imperceptibly flickering pixels. 

But I don’t want to be another zombie.  Can I be something else please?

Occasionally I hanker for a romantic, completely alternative vocation far away which involves none of my existing skills – most of which involve looking at a computer screen.  As does the production of these very words.  I am a sucker for the fundamental romance of distance and instinctively envy those who travel frequently, so I imagine and apply fantastic tales of displacement for myself, which seem on the face of it to be entirely unrealistic; like something you might read in a book or watch in a film about a flawed but loveable dreamer. 

And the career.  I feel that I could easily cast it aside really.  I’m not very successful and am unlikely to ever achieve anything too significant.  I personally know a considerable amount about my particular space, a volume which, with a bit more luck or drive, might be valued more highly than it apparently is. 

But do I really care about it?  Not much.  In fact I’d be incredibly grateful to do away with the guilt which is pricked into you at every turn by the incessant flurry of media and messages.  Professional peers insanely shrieking through any number of electronic channels, I’M BUSY!!  REALLY BUSY DOING THIS IMPORTANT LOOKING THING!!  LOOK AT ME!!  IF YOU’RE NOT AS BUSY AS ME YOU MUST BE SHIT AND INSIGNIFICANT!! 

But if they have time to frantically communicate their busyness at every stroke, can they be that busy?

Even if you did care little about earning a meaty wage and just wanted enough to comfortably survive, would you fairly promptly find yourself on the bones of your arse leading a miserable existence?  Or moaning about basic home comforts you didn’t realise you valued?

An earlier age might have suited me better.  One which was less immediate, less aggressive, provided fewer tools for self promotion.  One where media wasn’t ubiquitous and constant, so was richer and more highly valued.

It’s irksome that my mind was swirling with these thoughts as I lay in bed, and the quickest way to free them was to consign them to yet another screen.  Fucking screens.  Perhaps it’s how humans will eventually be overcome or overtaken by Artificial Intelligence, or at least how the barrier between the two will become blurred.  I’ve worked with technical developers who are so constantly ‘in the zone’ and dosed up on caffeine, you might struggle to perceive humanity. 

Do I want to be chained to screens for another 40 odd years until my brain is turned to mush and I can’t see straight?  Or do I have the capacity to relinquish all of this?  Would I have the courage to make such a drastic move?  Go somewhere far away and not take an office job, a job which tied me to a screen?  Probably not.

Should probably just buy a new laptop with a bigger screen.


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