We Are Analog in a “Digital” World. What are we Missing?

What have we lost? Ultimately, we are all Analog. Our memories, and experiences are not neat, lined up in a row, bits and bytes, easily stored in electronic memory. No, our brains are a tangle of irregulary shaped neurons, firing in some unknown organic way. Phonographs, a modern day Victrola anachronism to my kids.  Now replaced by smart phones and iTunes.  Film photography, made up of irregular silver oxide crystals, not pixels. Now replaced by smart phone images.  We have gained a lot from digitization, with our fast paced lives being digitized, they are more easily “shared”, “liked”, and stored in pocket sized rectangles, connected together by a world wide network. But, what have we lost?

We have lost fidelity. Preciseness of representation. Unnoticeable losses, when you step back and look at it as a whole. You don’t see the pixels. You don’t hear the bits and bytes when you play your digital music. But there is something missing.

The Missing Parts

Are all colors really represented by a combination of Red, Blue, Green values scaled held to 256 individual levels? Are all sounds represented by 32 bits of digital granularity? No, of course not. Just as a picture or video isn’t the same as being there, digital representation isn’t the same as analog. It is incomplete,  a necessary inferior representation of the “real thing”, to allow us to share, recall, and communicate effectively, but incompletely.  That is where you and I come in.

Living in the Real World

We are the ultimate walking, talking, feeling analog devices.  Our imperfect senses and brains fusing the tiny experiences around us in real time, all the time.  We are not compact squares of technology, seemingly inefficient in our way of processing, storing and recalling our experiences.  We are imperfect, but not inefficient in this sense.  As can the collective whole of our experiences, stored between our ears in our grey matter, be completely stored on a high end iPhone? Or a multi-terabyte lap top? No, it hasn’t been done.  It is un-doable. Some senses are not digitally recordable.  Smell, you have to physically be there with it, to experience it.  Touch, how would you store that?  Fusing all these elements into a single collective “memory”, triggering our very non-digitizable emotions, and building human relationships, is uniquely analog, and uniquely human.

Being There

Don’t let digitization, that has helped us all connect, remotely, effortlessly, allow you to lose sight of who we are, now isolate us. We are analog.  Go out. Experience the “real thing”.  Don’t allow digital images and sounds be a replacement for being there, to experience the moment first hand. Travel, and eat well, don’t just read about it. Sit in the crushed velvet seats at a Kennedy Center concert, and listen to the imperfect, but somehow perfect, interpretation of that virtuoso violinist. Sit across from your friends and enjoy the conversation, not a digitized chat.  Be there with those who are there. Analog experiences, are real experiences. Don’t let digitization remove the fidelity of your life.

(This is a short blog article for the daily blog challenge word – Analog)


6 Comments Add yours

  1. pfabgirl says:

    I like that: We are, in fact, analog (as humans). It’s what makes (and keeps us human). Love your thoughts


  2. This is a very insightful reflection on analog. I never thought of humans as analog beings. Very smart 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mark says:

      Thanks! I was trying to think what to write on the prompt, in effect something in the defense of analog, and it occurred to me that we are in fact analog, getting put into a digital box.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark says:

    Insightful blog!


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