The Shelter

Here, have some free entertainmentshelter01

If you’ve 30 minutes or so to spare, you could do much worse than watch this classic episode of The Twilight Zone (link below). For unfamiliar readers Twilight Zone was a sci-fi (well, sort of) series that was originally aired between 1959 and 1964 in the United States. Since then it has been both revived and re-run across the globe (see wiki) and has become something of a classic.

I promise you that if you watch this episode you’ll be entertained, despite the fact much of the language and ideas may seem a little dated to contemporary viewers. For me that’s part of the charm. Watching episodes of this programme is a little like perusing historical documents which detail the social constructions of the middle of the last century.

Anyway, when you’re done watching, you might like to return to the text below, because I believe that the scriptwriter (none other than Rod Serling himself) makes a point that far exceeds his intended context and reaches out to an unexpected aspect of our lives today.

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Existentialism in the Age of #SocialMedia

existentialism

Existentialism as street art – Graphic by Montag

It was the summer of 2014. The online community was in the middle of the twitterstorm that had been raging since the Ferguson riots. I was enjoying beautiful vacation time in the south of France — waking late, drinking far too much of the produits du terroir, and generally having lovely times in the warm Languedocien sunshine.

Despite the noise and fury that had previously emanated from my @iammontag Twitter account about the amount of time that people spend online (and my short-lived #offline campaign), one of the first items on my vacation to-pack list is always my laptop. So when Ferguson kicked off I was able to keep up with the developments on the internet.

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Anti-Quantic

Connected (mono)

Outdoor Art at YSP – Photo by Montag

The information age.

A new industrial revolution powered by silicon electronic technology, binary arithmetic and computer science.

I’m one of the worker bees of this epoch. You’ll find me buried deep within the hierarchy of corporations composing symphonia of code on the plastic piano, or perhaps helping those already dependent on technology to cope when a malfunction occurs.

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Social Fiction

So here we are.

The future.

Featured Image -- 2322014 is certainly in the realms of that which in the nineteen-sixties and seventies we used to designate as “the future”. We’ve long passed Arthur C. Clarke’s milestone of 2001 (nothing remotely HAL-like existed then), and all except the last date point in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles are already in the past (the date yet to come is the title of the final chapter in the Bradbury novel, April 2026).

We now exist in that tomorrow we used to eagerly read about as children. It’s extremely interesting therefore to revisit Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014 made in 1964: flying cars, robots, videophones, enforced leisure.

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