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The Creative Life >
Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®
article is being written as I, together with my
family, tour the West Coast of Southern Island.
The article reflects my thoughts about the Internet
Cafe, remote Internet access in general, and our
inevitable journey as a species towards cyberlife.
I live close to a large town in the South of England
where broadband is available and all the technological
conveniences of a rich Western society are common
place including flat-panel touch-screen guides to
the local multi-million pound shopping mall, a shop
on every corner selling mobile telecommunications,
and a large computer superstore on one of many out-of-town
My sister and her husband on the other hand chose
the quiet life and live on a remote mountainside
on the West Coast of Ireland. Their house is along
a three mile track best suited to an off-road vehicle.
Their water is pumped up from a stream that runs
close to their house, and the only service they
enjoy is electricity. They rely on the phone and
Internet to keep in touch as the post van bumps
up their track only once a week.
When there's little around except mist, the odd
sheep and the sound of trickling water from a nearby
mountain stream, the fact you can access the Internet
with ease is a strange affair. You realise there
are unseen signals passing over, around and through
you every moment of the night and day no matter
where you are. This undermines the psychological
state of isolation that you physically experience
when half way up a mountainside. It's as if we humans
now have a virtual umbilical cord we can tap into
for informational food that offers a sense of security
and continuity. There's little doubt this dependence
will grow and may in time become a vital component
of our daily existence.
There are those who would regard an all pervading
presence of the Internet as undesirable and that
it demonstrates an overdependance on technology
and a disconnection with the 'real world'. In reality
however there is no absolute 'real world'. All our
experiences are filtered. We experience colour,
taste, smell, touch, sound, and time differently
than anyone else, and our experiences are interpreted
according to our personal history and temperament.
We assume a common experience because we need to
connect and communicate our experiences, and it
is this need that binds us together and creates
a sense of commonality.
Internet Cafes have sprung up wherever significant
numbers of well-off travellers pass through. I feel
a sense of community as soon as I enter an Internet
Cafe. Most are there to connect and catch up via
email. Our interpersonal relationships are undergoing
a significant alteration as our connectivity broadens.
Our model of the 'real world' is changing in a subtle
but profound way.
As connecting to the Internet becomes increasingly
commonplace throughout the richer nations of the
world, the Internet Cafe will only be seen in poorer
countries and the most remote of locations before
it eventually disappears. There's little doubt the
Internet Payphone and laptop will gradually replace
the more social context of the Internet Cafe as
developing technologies provide the means of our
future connection to the Internet.
The Internet enables and encourages connections
between people. We choose to access this meeting
place which continues to develop into a kind of
'collective consciousness'. As technology progresses,
our means of access will continue to alter with
the eventual integration of hardware hardwired into
our bodies. There are many philosophical and ethical
questions that we must consider and debate as this
next inevitable stage in our evolution occurs. At
our current rate of technological change however
this new reality could be upon us within a hundred
years. The first explorations of cyber technologies
are already well underway.
At present, the only serious debate of these issues
tends to be confined to the academic institution
and the literary prophecies of science fiction.
I hope in some small way AbleStable® becomes
in part, a context for lively debate and discussion
about these important issues.
changing world of creativity
Creativity is at the heart of what it is to be human.
I'm referring not only to the more self-conscious
creativity that is associated with the creative
professional, but to the kinds of creative interaction
we all employ on a daily basis. We constantly solve
practical, personal and social challenges by using
our creative skills. I realise this opens a whole
can of worms but stay with me on this...
I've long since thought our need to create is aligned
closely to the knowledge of our own mortality. We
want not only to express our circumstance and experience
of the world to others and connect to one another
as social animals, but we also wish to make our
mark and leave something of ourselves for a time
when we are no longer physically present. The certain
knowledge that death comes to us all drives the
ego of many to create something that will outlast
them. This drive may not be conscious but is at
the heart of our actions and behaviours.
Although there are many political reasons why more
men become creative professionals than woman, my
personal view is that men are more concerned (often
unconsciously) about the prospect of death than
woman. Most woman are responsible for the ultimate
creative activity as they become the vessel, and
nurture, the first stages of life. Men appear to
compensate for their inability to conceive and nurture
through the refocusing of their energies into creative
I'm not suggesting woman do not also involve themselves
in creative activity, nor that men are more creative.
I realise also that woman are disadvantaged by practical
and political circumstances, and that arguments
concerning these issues are complex and have been
at the heart of much debate over why women are generally
less represented as being creative. My emphasis
here is to put forward an apolitical position that
seeks to, at least in part, explain the creative
urge in men.
soon at a world near you
The essential difference between men and woman (woman
have babies, men don't) will alter as men become
largely responsible for the design of the human
cyber interface with which we will interact with
our Internet. This ever evolving interface will
be a far cry from the Internet Cafe, but it is the
Internet Cafe where this evolution became first
Men will be largely responsible for the creation
of the cyber interface simply because there are
more designers who are male in the technological
industries. This fact may alter the psychological
state of our species in a profound way as men begin
to feel part of the creative and nurturing process
of humankind. With this shift in our evolution,
the dynamic between men and woman will alter as
will our drive to create. The future is in our hands
to mould as we wish...
de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®.
Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music
composer, photographer, print and web site designer,
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