Thank you so much Nony, for my pocket calculator; I was the only girl in my school class without one, so I had to do my sums in my head, and the answer wasn’t always as right as theirs.” An unfair competition, as far as speed and accuracy goes, between the lightning speed of the calculator, and doing sums in the “old way”! I awakened with that sentence running through my head followed by a series of thoughts. What kind of reality does adding and dividing, multiplying and subtracting have, when it is removed from one’s experience of having more or less, sharing a portion of one’s goods, or loosing them? If “sums” are first just numbers on pieces of paper and not a portion of daily compassion or greed, what do the numbers come to mean? When numbers are removed another step into simply results coming when the right buttons are pushed, the distance from reality is even farther.
My mind went on to consider the history of exchange. Think of the feel and touch, satisfaction or frustration involved with having too many potatoes and searching for someone with apple trees who would swap some apples for some potatoes, or of having many sheep, and the know-how to turn wool into thread, then searching for someone with a loom to weave cloth in exchange for a certain amount of thread. Jump on into the using of shells for exchange, then silver and gold, and then step away into the use of paper money to represent gold and silver, and checks to represent paper money, and on into the modern confusion of the world’s complicated economic system recorded on computers.
Where have the short cuts taken us as to any of the basic realities of life becoming more real? What price computer life? One ...1
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