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This article was written and published in Musico Pro magazine:

Technology and community

OK so I have written a few articles, ranting and raving and speaking effusively about what I think is, and is not, cool. I think that I have made it pretty obvious that I believe in things that are somewhat intangible and powerful, and that our culture is teaching us all the wrong things. So now the question is; How can we use these developing protocols, tools, technologies, mythologies, and other such ideas, to create community and increase the quality of music, and subsequently our own quality of life, as musicians and human beings.

That is the company line, the corporate mythological agenda, at this point, isnít it ? That everyone should have access to the Internet. OOPS perhaps I should spell it like it is sold, portentous and imposing; THE INTERNET. That seems much more impressive. Supposedly the great equalizer. This interconnected globally accessed wired up technocracy that is also just a marketing dream, snake oil and swamp land, a small piece of the Brooklyn bridge.

It is not technology that brings people together, but people seeking each other, actually seeking others who are similarly disposed, who see and live in the world in a like manner.. If our cultures isolate us by imposing rules of caste or divide us by race or color or annual income, then perhaps one truthful response to that is to create a virtual kingdom where everyone can be anyone, Whether or not this will really change the way people think and communicate across cultural lines is still up in the air. 

The problem once again, is that there is truth and there is myth. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that 100 million people are using or have access to the Internet, or even computer based technology. (I think that this is probably a gross overexaggeration, but we will use the number for the math.)

That means that means that less that 2% of the entire global population is actually accessing this supposed "revolution" in human culture. That number is a very small percentage. So, if the truth is, that very few people are actually able to access the Internet, or related technologies, why does it seem like such a pandemic hurry to get somewhere, some mythical utopia that has a PC in every home and a modem on every phone.

I believe that once again the answer is Marketing and the all mighty dollar. Remember at the end of the day, basically someone is selling something. The global culture, the Raison detre for our global conciousness is an economically driven modality. In modern culture the religions of old, the concept of having a relationship wth the seasons, with family and ancestors, with respect fort the issues of mortality and spirit that we all face, have been replaced with the modern equivalent of "economics as religion". That somehow life, and the needs of the human spirit, can be met and satisfied by the acquisition and accumulation of material wealth and that the key issues of the soul can be addressed through diversion and entertainment. 

All of these corollaries with regard to new technologies and avaialbility and need, apply to CD-ROM, DVD and all other digital entertainment and education technologies. So if someone is selling something and lots oí people are buying, where is the truth? Can technology really create opportunities for community? Can we really define what community means in a fractured and narcissistic cultural paradigm? 

Of course it can, but really it always comes back to how each individual approaches the opportunities that the technology allows for. It depends on each individuals needs and understanding of how community expands! 

Always remember, that it is not the tool but the person wielding the tool that makes the difference. I have played gigs at every possible level of technology. I have owned way too much gear. I have owned 3 Synclaviers, so that qualifies me to state without hesitation, that gear is utterly and completely meaningless. (I am still, by the way, a gear hound. but for different reasons that I will clarify in a later article). The best gig I ever played, that was the most fun, was in Colorado at a funky bar with some great musician friendís of mine. we drank a lot of tequila, played really hard, sweat like crazy, and played some serious stuff. I have done a lot of work, on many high level projects, but that gig stands out as powerfully humane to me, which is a very important barometer to me, with regards to appreciating work.

Technology is a tool, like a hammer. I donít really develop an emotional bond with my tools per se. They come and go. The basic nature of supply and demand is such that there will always be something better and cheaper out later. So what to do in the Now ?

I believe that we should use technology to increase quality of craft and the ability to communicate at deeper levels. Donít let the tools speak for you, use the tools to speak more clearly. The world is so confused, donít buy something just because it seems cool. Remember if you are building a house you donít need all the tools, just the right ones, and the knowledge of how to use them. As the millennium approaches, perhaps the question is not how technology creates community, but rather how community can use technology to evolve into something better, something bigger for everyone, not just the people with access, but the entire global culture. 

Music, and the spirit that drives it, are really the great equalizer. It is one of the only true nonverbal, agenda free, direct links to the soul, that crosses all boundaries, cultural, racial, gender, whatever. I was on a remote island in Fiji and spoke very little Fijian, but I became e friends with the chief of the tribe and was welcomed amongst the elder men, as I had brought my guitar and sat late into the evenings drinking Kava and making music. I did not speak the native language but we spoke directly to the heart and made vital connections. a truly precious commodity. 

Only you, each individual reading this, can make changes and create community by choosing to be humane in a world that doesnít support that. Make music with whatever you can find, be it a rock or a seed gourd or a human voice or a Synclavier, it doesnít matter as long as the essence of what you are making is truthful and human. Where that music goes and what happens to it when it gets there is another article altogether. Good luck, good music, good bye for now.

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