Technology: Boosting or Killing Creativity?

There has always been a huge debate over technology in every aspect of life. Each day we see new and wonderful things being done with computers, and we are well on our way to those futuristic houses some of us dreamed about as children. Will we, one day, see entire buildings set up that look very similar to, say, Tony Stark’s house in Iron Man? Maybe one day we’ll even see a TARDIS type device like in Doctor Who?

One thing has me wondering, however. With as great as technology is, how helpful is it to the creative aspect of society?

On the one hand, you have many more outlets in which you can channel your creative side. Video games are seeing graphics upgrades that can fool the average on looker into believing they are watching real people rather than a game. Videos can be posted to Youtube that could make you the next big internet sensation. Musical instruments are seeing upgrades as well. This very blog I am writing is proof of modern technology at its finest, seeing as how I am typing on a laptop. Let’s not forget paint sets, pencils, pencil sharpeners, and cameras. .

It’s true that, in the world we live in, we can do more in shorter time periods with far less hassle. Instead of taking weeks to create you own paints, build your own brushes, and days to paint the perfect picture, we can simply walk to the nearest hobby store, or snap a picture with a digital DSLR camera.

In quite a number of ways, we are seeing more artistic flares than before. But has the modern era taken away some of the joy and passion?

For example: In ye olde dark times, a person had to be quite dedicated if they wanted to create something.. There was no photoshop option. Dedicated painters had to really stick to it in order to create a masterpiece. Not only did they have to stay dedicated to it, and determined, but they had to find a way to make their materials last. Think of how many beautiful paintings that are now lost to history. Think of how many great artists there were that we just don’t know about now. On top of building your own tools to use for the projects at hand, timing had to be perfect, etc. Even something as simple as weather patterns can be (somewhat) predicted ahead of schedule.

I bring you now to the point of movies and theatre. Growing up where I did, theatre was not a big aspect of society, but going to see the latest Blockbuster hit was. Movies are the modern day equivalent of a trip to the Globe in many cases. Even the beauty of CGI, and other special effects, can take away some of the talent of acting. Silent movies are often described as being very dramatic, and there is a reason for that. They could not speak, and they were forced to rely on merely their body language to convey the points they were trying to make, while still being entertaining to the viewers. We move later into the cheesy 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s with special effects that were, at times, just laughable. The blood was obviously fake, strings and wires were obvious. I will not lie, I still enjoy sitting down and watching a good black and white movie from time to time, and I REALLY enjoy a good Vincent Price movie. I’ve totally digressed, but I’m working my way back towards my point. The actors had to rely on pure talent, and had to really work to make you believe that a man had just turned into a bat before your eyes, or something such as. Now… Whatever the actors can’t do, they just add it in later via computer graphics. Actors do not have to do nearly as much work now as far as acting is concerned, but have now had to learn how to read lines while interacting with strange green screens. 
Don’t get me wrong! I love a lot of movies that are heavy on the CGI! Um, hello? Thor? The Avengers? My favorite show is Doctor Who and that just SCREAMS CGI.

Books! Oh how books have suffered. Call me old fashioned, but I still love the feeling of a book in my hands. I love the smell, the feel of the crisp pages flipping beneath my thumbs, etc. I do have an eReader though, for convenience. But how many times have you heard “Eh, who needs to read the book, the movie is coming out next month.” I want to slap everyone who says this. I truly do. There is something so different about being lost in the world of a book, and it is an experience you can only relate to if you’ve ever read a really good book.

Movies, and even eReaders, have killed books to a certain degree. Everything is turning digital now, and pretty soon hardcover books will be considered antiques (I do have a few old books, one of them is nearly a hundred years old. And I am SO proud of it. Unrelated, but I had to add it here).

Backing up for a moment to the theatre/movie point. Actors! Poor actors. Once upon a time you had to be a sensational actor to even be known in your own town. Thanks to television, you can know be a household name! Those this has many benefits, such as monetarily speaking, there are also a lot of downfalls. I once remember hearing an actor, when asked how he was adjusting to his new found fame, state “I quite like it, but simple things like going to the shops for milk are totally different experiences now.”

For my final point, I’ll discuss writing in general. First you had to make the paper/stone/etc you were going to write on. Then you had to make the utensil you were going to use to write with. Then we were upgraded to typewriters. For the record, I still own a typewriter. It’s an automatic one, so that is sort of depressing, but it is a typewriter nonetheless. I love it. But anyway, we saw typewriters give way to other things before finally: computers. Don’t like computers? You can pop down to your local store and purchase pens, pencils, sharpeners, etc. It is quite easy now.

But is easy best? That’s the real question. How much art floating about on the internet now would we see if we were all required to use the “old fashioned” way of creating? Would the caliber of what we see change? What I mean is….the quantity is up, but is the quality up to par?

One of the biggest issues I have is how much we have taken humanity out of the society. Instead of talking to humans, we are talking to robots when we call numbers. So much is automated now! We can hide behind our computer screens and say whatever we’d like, because we have the ability to hide behind anonymity. It is easy to forget that the person you are speaking to online is, in fact, a human being.

I don’t know. I have mixed emotions (as you can see) regarding technology and art in general.

Ironically what sparked this particular post was I was trying to log into WordPress to type out a blog for everyone. My computer was running incredibly slowly. By the time I battled with my computer to log in, then battled with the browser to open, and finally made it to WordPress, I had managed to forget what I wanted to write about due to frustration. Cue thinking back to the old days.

There is no doubt, when discussing the modern age, that many pros and cons exist. I suppose we should all be thankful, at least, that people are taking more of an interest in the workings that lie within the often times dark and twisted right brain.

We can only sit back, watch, and wait to see what the future holds.

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