If my readership will humour me a little, I would suggest a short promenade through that edifice whose bricks provide us with our bread and cheese. A brief parade across a vocabulary story where no one gets hurt.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
The tale begins in the late 1980s, when the then flourishing New Age movement began to feel the heat at Windham Hill. The members, it was reported, started to approach...well, old age I suppose, and the chilling prospect that you can chill too far began to gain momentum. "A Nirvana without the Cross" it was labelled. I couldn't say, but I did notice that the movement's narrative was devoid of lexicon aimed at defining the harsher seasons. Word processors came on the scene, and QUIT was their chosen tune when saying goodbye.
Fast-forward a little. Words became something you had. No, you brandished! You would be endowed with gear, toolboxes, interfaces, kits. Extensions to being. The still enormous computing machines were peremptory: Close Program, they would announce.
Thence forward, things went organic. But in a less aseptic way than your average vegetable. The first to appear, I think, was fiberoptics. Suddenly the constructive element was taken away from our lexical load, and enhancements to our perceptions just began to grow in some distant silent laboratory/farm. There followed plasma, touch, tooth, sensor. Companies had a DNA, and desktops informed us that You are closing the program.
And out the other side. Wi-Fi was the pioneer, to the best of my knowledge. Coined simply to sound as qualitative as Hi-Fi (have you noticed how the latter simply doesn't roll off the tongue any more, the lips just purse and you can't help it?), and though for a brief time it did, it was never really meant to mean Wireless-Fidelity, which is probably a good thing. It was a non-place. Such as the ecosystem we dwell in as we float in a realm of synchronized clouds and certainly upload more than we download. Our machines purr Would you like to close this program? and automagically enter cocooned slumbers where chirps and Zen pastures cannot disturb us.
As I read back, I note that I have not reached that pitch of enticement into conviction which would transform this article into a scientific treatise on the evolution of words. Also, it is not clinically proven that any of this is true.
So why am I bothered, and bothering you?
As a non-localized localization specialist, I should be happier than most now. And I certainly must confess that such configuration does keep the wolf from the door, as mentioned at the beginning. Also, my best friends seem to live on distant shores, though I would like to reassure the ones I spend my evenings with.
The thing is that as it all happened, I felt no nails penetrating, no damage done. It took place in a dream made of increasingly accelerating pleasure.
And now when pain does strike, I am lost for words. When I most need it, I cannot count on communication, as to spite my sorrow I too have acquiesced in the presence of atrophy.
The price I pay for being alive is being - at every turn - linked to a machine-like journey.