Technology and rust never rest. Many people have moved up the economic ladder thanks to the innovation and imagination of scientists. Others might feel like this line from The Beast of Yucca Flats best sums things up: “Touch a button. Things happen. A scientist becomes a beast.” (Cardoza & Francis, 1961). Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936) presented a silent humorous yet poignant look at how technology can strip the human out of humanity. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) was a soundless siren call warning the world that progress is not always progressive.
The silence ended in 1927 (except for the lone holdout Chaplin) with the success of The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. The first successful talkie was also the death knell for many stars and for many behind the scenes. The march of progress left Theda Bara and others standing mute on the sidelines as the parade passed them by. New types of actors and new types of technology were needed to project the sounds that the world could no longer live without.
Most creative people fare well with the advances of technology. It is not just the artists who use new machines or Adobe Photoshop who succeed. The power of imagination has advanced the world century after century. Some cave dweller decided that raw meat needed heat. Another figured out that a roof overhead with walls and doors was far better than a drafty cave. Creative people tend to be able to ride the various waves no matter which way they flow. Painters, musicians, sculptors, writers, and others adapt to the times. The good artists for the Czars became the creators of Soviet realism. The good artists before the Depression became the over-the-top mural creators demanded by the Works Progress Administration.
I am an artist as well as a student of communications with a focus on public relations. I paint, write, and create clocks and lamps. Now I am branching out into learning about documentary filmmaking from my wife. The B.A. degree is also a way to advance an artistic career. Better understanding how to communicate with the world can only enhance the chance of success as an artist. Knowing public relations means that I can promote my work and that of my wife. My wife is also a student studying German literature and media studies. Her future lies with the creative arts. We both embrace what technology has to offer. High tech is less intimidating to those who already look at the world through a kaleidoscope.
My work is my goal. I do not see an unbridgeable gap between handling a paint brush and handling a computer mouse. Innovation can be intimidating if someone lacks insight and inspiration. I have used Photoshop to enhance the quality of the art which I create. I have also done what generations of artists did before: simply pick up a brush and keep on painting until the canvas is full. Work is something to be done no matter whether the person handles a shovel or software. Andy Warhol said:
I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of "work" because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don't always want to do. Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery. People are working every minute. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep. (The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, 1977, p. 96).
The machinery does keep going and it keeps churning out new-and-improved machines. Education is keeping pace with the technological marvels. I am attending Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) even though I live in Germany. As Criswell said in Plan 9 from Outer Space:
Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. (Wood & Wood, 1959).
I am attending SNHU because I have an interest in the unknown and the mysterious. Every online student gets to explore the world about them (and specifically education) in an entirely new way. I am boldly going where no Wyman has gone before.
My education is preparing me for the future. I can pursue my job and my goals simultaneously. According to Namdev (2012), a contradiction does not need to exist when it comes to creativity combined with technology. Harry Baldwin in Panic in Year Zero (1962) states:
“Now we don't know what lies ahead of us. The unknown has always been man's greatest demoralizer. Now maybe we can cope with this by maintaining our sense of values, by carrying out our daily routine, the same as we always have.” (Arkoff & Milland, 1962).
Walking on a treadmill might give a sense of health and wellbeing but it does not lead anywhere. The planet’s future will continue to go forward as long as the earth revolves around the sun. Embracing the past will not stop the relentless march of time.
Arkoff, S.Z. (Producer), & Milland, R. (Director). (1962). Panic in Year Zero. [DVD]. USA: American International Pictures.
Barkan, S.E. (2011). Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Comprehensive
Edition. Online. Flatworld Knowledge.
Cardoza, A. (Producer), & Francis, C. (Director). (1961). The Beast of Yucca Flats. [DVD]. USA: Alpha Home Entertainment.
Miller, D. (1987). B Movies. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Namdev, D.S. ICT and web technology based innovations in education sector. Turkish Online
Journal of Distance Education, 13(4), 256-268. Retrieved from https://ehis.ebscohost.com.
Warhol, A. (1977). The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. New York, NY: Harbrace.
Wood, E. (Producer), & Wood, E. (Director). (1959). Plan 9 from Outer Space. [DVD]. USA: Quality Studios.