2015-08-19

Smartphones and the conscience of humankind

I watch my photo archive and I realize that my memory does not recall a lot of things. Even photos from couple of years back seems like pictures of events that happened to someone else. I remember when I took that picture, however it's like I see this for the first time.

The memory has a strange way to forget things. I still can't believe that my boy was that small. I know rationally, however I cannot recall the perception of him being that small. Pictures are not only anchors for memories, sometimes they are the only memories.

Our children are the first generation that can have, over years, a history in images of their entire life. Of course, we also have some pictures from childhood, but they are too few to create an image of continuity. Most of our childhood pictures are black&while and in studied positions (because of their scarcity) and looks more like taken from a movie/theater than from real life. The general availability of color digital pictures, sometimes including audio and movies, should change this perception. I will not discuss here the issues that are brought by the smartphones ;) And, of course, you must have a way to securely backup your pictures.



Being able to look back and see your life in pictures might change the way we perceive life. We know rationally that humans are born, grow, live some years of youth, mature, grow older and die. However, the time goes too slow for us to really perceive this fact and live according to it's teachings. We don't seem to understand the needs of a child or adolescent (although we had them), we don't seem to be aware that youth will pass, the body will slowly decay and we should prepare some savings for the old age. We see people that are young or old, but we don't see them evolving fast enough to create a mental image of this flow of facts.

Having a history in pictures (maybe even movies) could completely change this. You can watch years of life changes in a minute, you can see the difficult child becoming a responsible adult, you can see the beautiful face getting old and wrinkled. Children will be able to see this chronology even from their parents pictures, way more vivid than any story could present it. The stories could be recalled inaccurately and many times some details are falsified for various reasons. A picture is more accurate, more objective. Even if a certain picture could be sometimes falsified, it is virtually impossible to falsify an entire history in pictures, especially movies.

Not only personal life will be more accurately portrayed, but also the history. With 3 pictures you could write thousands of histories, but with millions of pictures you cannot write a history very different from the truth. We know from history how great civilizations rise and fall, but it's also like something very far, something that cannot happen to us. Today we have pictures where we can observe how our city grows, how streets changes, how stores are open and then get closed, how buildings are built and then get into decay.

Political mistakes are easily forget by memory, but movies will hopefully remind us who were the people that tries to fool us again today. We will be able to more accurately compare periods in history, we will extract new meanings and teachings. We will be able to fully realize the power of human ambition in changing the environment and, in the same time, the power of destruction that could be brought by human irresponsibility.

We will hopefully develop a better self conscience, even at humanity level. We will have a better sense of history dynamics, a better sense of self responsibility for our actions today. We will realize better what a war means, what are the results of anarchy or dictatorship. Hopefully the humankind will develop a "Conscience" and not keep walking mindlessly through history. The best result of this would be if we reach space colonization before the earth becomes inhabitable - because of man or natural causes.

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