Apple’s New World – Time to Worry

“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a product.”

These are the opening words to Apple’s new commercial campaign, “Designed By Apple in California.” It is their new “mission” introduced at the 2013 WWDC.

A mission to which I ask, “Really?”

Are our lives so meaningless that we need Apple to provide substance in being, to provide the true meaning to life? I am disappointed that the world of religion has not taken up arms to destroy the notion that their god does not matter. I am disappointed that the secular humanist community has not shouted that it is humanity that matters. I am disappointed that humanity is standing-up for itself.

I find this particular advertisement most deplorable. This is an ad designed to remind us that it is the stuff that defines humanity. We are being told not to think about the conditions in which these products are produced.

The United States is the “founder” of the middle class, the group that believe that the person who dies with the most toys wins. Apple is only exploiting that belief. Apple is exploiting the loss of our humanity.

Humanism, secular and sectarian, is of the mind of the goodness of Man, of original good, of our ability to overcome the adversities of life, natural or man made  and continue to improve and succeed. That it is not “stuff” but all that inhabit the planet that creates the experience.

Dow Chemical understands that it is the “human factor” that gives meaning, is what matters. At least through their public image. “As we marvel at element bounding with element, we soon realize when you add the Human Element to the equation everything changes.”

Once we allow the Human element, Dow’s “Hu,” to leave the Periodic Table, once we define ourselves by the products we own and what they can do, we forget the humanity into which we are all born. That somehow the human experience must be supplemented by technology to enjoy life. That I need the new Google glasses to see where I am going.

Part of me wishes to be returned to an era when knowledge was more important, that the ability to think independently, creatively and critically was honored more than what watch we are wearing, computer we are using or the number of Facebook connections we have.

Man is a herding animal, but we are forgetting how important that herd is. Maybe if we would touch more, the incidents of stress related disease, the number of people suffering from depression or poverty would be reduced to a manageable level. Maybe.

We stare in wonder at the family laughing and playing together like playful animals in the zoo; something we have only read about but are now seeing for the first time. We make fun of companies that see play as important as the need to produce; companies which allow the human imagination to run amok.

We forget about the knowledge of our older citizens to the point of ignoring their wisdom while seeking answers on the Internet.

We no longer honor long form journalism, but seeking instant information, whether or not it is correct.

We want to watch our movies on out iPads instead of joining the others in the stadium of the theater.

Apple’s ad is more of a warning that our humanity is at risk of losing its meaning that the simplicity of life must be given away to the complexity of the machine for happiness to survive.

If technology is the new principle of life, we need to be worried. Not that the new technology is bad in itself when it makes life easier, safer and more productive. But…

When we start to think that technology is life and we define ourselves accordingly, it is time to worry. Now is the time to worry.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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