Analog technology has experienced a resurgence in the market. Vinyl LPs, notebooks, pencils, woodworking with hand tools, typewriters and even cassettes have resurrected from the productivity and entertainment graveyard to create a multi-million-dollar industry, once again.
(Interestingly, in all of this fervor for physical goods VHS tapes are feeling left out. Anyone want to demand legislation that prohibits their exclusion? No?)
According to technophiles and techno-utopists past and present, we were supposed to be living in an age where digital would make any and all analog technology obsolete. I must admit that even I didn’t imagine that such mediums would make a comeback. The common sentiment, for years, was that advances would provide humanity such high levels of convenience that no one would bother to “look back”, as it were.
They (and I) were wrong. Still, it is necessary to know what the reason for the analog revival is, being that using older technologies requires more of one’s time and effort.
While it can be argued that the technophiles had something to do with the mass adoption of digital, via their crafty use of advertising, the primary reason why most use iPads and smartphones these days is because they provide an ease of use over older technologies. Therefore, the reason for our question.
Putting aside that many are participating in the analog resurgence because of the trendiness of the movement, some provide reasonable answers to defend their using analog. Among the most logical I’ve heard is that overindulgence with digital lead them to reexamine their relationship with new technology because of the negatives of such behavior. Once they backed away from it and “reconnected” with the physical world they reclaimed what they “lost” when they turned themselves over to digital completely.
Among what they assert to have lost was time, patience, self-control and, most importantly, human warmth. With the incessant checking of one’s Facebook wall, relentless text messaging, drowning out the surroundings with loud music through earphones and endless YouTube viewing, it’s easy to see why. It was akin to a “disconnecting” or “checking out” from the realm we live in, operate in and are should thrive in – the physical world.
This makes complete sense when one considers that God designed this space for our benefit and fulfillment. (Genesis 1-2) Notice that the Creator said on diverse occasions during the creation of the world that it was “good”. Therefore, the sphere the Lord designed for us to interact with brings our hearts and minds joy, contentment and innumerable benefits.
If we refuse to engage the world and people around us, our lives will be anemic as a result. We subsist on love and being loved, on thinking and being taught, on being awed by creation and reminded of the Creator by it. (Psalms 8)
Sure, writing takes more time than typing. Then again, stroking a pen or pencil is a slower process and gives the writer more time to think about what he will compose. LPs aren’t the most faithful sounding medium for music. Then again, vinyl is a physical good one can own while an .mp3 file is a series of intangible 1s and 0s. Also, the warm tonality of an LP is unmatched and very pleasing to the ear.
Physical books may take up more space on shelves, but nothing compares to the linear pattern of a book for memory, comprehension and uninterrupted concentration.
Talking face to face is special, personable and edifying while texting cheapens conversation and relationships by making them hurried, shallow and mechanical. Real socialization occurs in person via meaningful interactions, not via “likes” and false representations of one’s life via flattering photos on Facebook.
My advice to the reader is to, whenever humanly possible, take the analog route instead of the digital. While it isn’t necessary to abandon digital altogether, due to its obvious practicalities, it shouldn’t become the cornerstone of our existence. Let it not be that in adopting a “convenience”, we are actually negating what is crucial to our existence.