Saturday, January 3, 2015

THE ICON VS. THE ZOMBIE (YOUR "SMARTPHONE")



WHO AM I?
     The Icon is a solid, art object with no moving or electronic parts which is comprised of linen stretched across a specially routed board and painted with a special gesso (rabbit skin glue, chalk and white pigment). This surface is sanded smooth and painted with layer upon layer of earth and ground semi-precious stones mixed with special mineral oils. Gold leaf is applied to specific areas with rabbit hair glue which is warmed with the human breath and burnished with a polished stone. The paint preparation techniques and formulas have been passed down and were the same ones used to paint the Sistine Chapel and other revered works of art. The Icon images are drenched with layers of meaning from spiritual symbolism designed with the intention of moving the soul and touching the heart of the viewer, consciously or unconsciously.
     The “SmartPhone” is made of a motherboard which is circuit board on which has been designed in a utilitarian, non-symbolic pattern. Gold is printed on  the motherboard and pre-drilled to receive electronic components which are comprised of silicon and other precious earths (lead, silver and palladium). The screen of the “SmartPhone” is a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) made up of layer upon layer of glass, plastic and liquid crystalline. Lithium metal oxide batteries power the motherboard. Once powered, moving images flutter on the LCD display in patterns guided by software written by engineers. No single image ever really appears on the LCD display as the array of pixels are charged. The rapidly moving image(s) cause the brain to work with extra intensity in order to attempt the impossible - to fill in the blanks between the illuminated pixels and “make sense” out of what is moving so rapidly that it is a non-sensical image.

WHY AM I HERE?
     The Icon has been around for centuries with several specific and extremely meaningful roles to perform: first is to inspire the devotees who create Icons – called Icon Writers.  As the outer Icon is written, an inner Icon is inscribed into the heart and inner life of the Icon Writer – striving for beauty, balance, harmony and skill is a challenge. Secondly, the Icon is blessed by the Church and becomes a meaningful addition to the Community into which it is housed. Thirdly, the Icon’s symbolism inspires the religious and spiritual feeling life within the individual who behold it. And, Fourth, the Icon is a portal through which the Spiritual Being depicted on the Icon is able to perceive and interact with the physical world.
     The “SmartPhone” runs application software which is designed to perform specific tasks, gains energy from WIFI, and other sources across networks and receives signals beamed by Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites which enwrap us all like a non-spiritual web. The LCD screen contains a substance which is both liquid and crystalline (solid) and is arranged in front of a thin film of transistors (TFT) which polarizes light. This dancing light captivates the human cognitive functions with hyper-kinetic visual activity and a dynamic multi-touch surface. Children, particularly, find these screens as something which totally captures their attention and shuts down all normal, natural thinking processes. For us, too.

WHAT DO I WANT?
     A Zombie is an animated corpse raised by magical means. A Zombie is an animated, non-living entity which is will-less, speechless and is able to function due to powers outside itself. If the forces animating the Zombie are evil or malevolent, Zombies do their will, they are powerless to do otherwise.
The same is true of a portable computer or “SmartPhone”. At a minimum , a “SmartPhone” is an agent animated by forces far beyond the individual human. Once in hand, the human consciousness is affected by the technology and we comes to rely on the technology for at least a certain portion of our thinking, feeling and will life. For most of us, it takes a large effort to disconnect totally from a "SmartPhone" as we consider them "important", even perhaps "essential" in our day-to-day lives. We revere them.
Are they malevolent? In computer lingo, a “Zombie” is term used to describe a computer or “SmartPhone” which has been accessed by a remote attacker in order to forward spam, viruses, or other instructions and so becomes a technological malevolent or evil force.
In our lives today, “SmartPhones” with animated LCD screens are Zombies whose dancing, images are corpses or non-living imaginations activated by technology which capture the attention of adults and children and transform them into beings who do the bidding of the technology (“Pay Attention to ME!”). They diminish or do away with the key human function of thinking and questioning. Does this attack our free will?
Icons are quite the opposite. They use solid, fixed images created by a devoted human with natural materials to put ancient symbols in front of us which pose a question as to their meaning. Or the question may arise within us as to “Why we have no feeling whatsoever for this object?” “Why is reverence so weak within me?”
The symbols on the Icon, even for a non-believer, may cause a “resonance” within our minds and hearts and lead us to ask questions about how to understand the meaning of images. “What are those lightning bolts coming out of St. Michael’s neck?” They activate us rather than shutting us down. The Icon presents questions or mysteries with which the human must work out the answers themselves. Wrestling with these questions make us more human.
The Zombie is about injecting information, data or pre-digested knowledge into the individual in such a fashion that we do not question.  The Zombie “SmartPhone” consumes our consciousness making us un-dead and captured by technology.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
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