Is The So-Called Digital Age Killing Sentimentality?
Slight off-topic for a gaming website, fair enough, but who in the gaming world is not currently enveloped in the so-called Digital Age? Not even you Angry Birds players can get away from it, with your smartphones and pretentious natures. I joke.
Let’s get slightly philosophical for a bit.
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Yesterday I found myself with time on my hands and as I’ve recently been doing, I found every possible excuse not to play any games. So it was that I ended up cleaning out my Internet Downloads folder, which contained over two thousand files of different types, all downloaded but not sorted into folders and so left there to be organised. Mind you, I do actually organise my files into folders when I can, so this was that extra stuff that was either recent, or that I’d not ever organised because of XYZ reason, usually, I didn’t want to get rid of them but had nowhere to really put ’em.
By the end of it, I ended up sorting through — and subsequently deleting — around 40GBs worth of files. And that’s only counting the stuff I got rid of. There was even more that I just kept, and placed into various organised folders. And no, it wasn’t porn. For the most part it was YouTube videos and random images. Then there was a whole bunch of campus stuff; lecture slides, past papers and so on. A whole bunch of junk, basically.
The thing is, prior to this moment in time, when I went through all of that stuff I saw a lot of things that I figured I should keep just in case I needed them some time in the future. ‘Some time in the future’ being that mythical fantasy land that exists alongside that reality where the love of your life, who totally isn’t actually into you at all, will one day realise how much you mean to her and love you back, or, the place where you actually top a leaderboard in an online match without being a complete and total shut-in of a person.
It wasn’t until I had a conversation with Tech Marco (that’s his name okay) a short while later that I came to the realisation that we who are living in the so-called Digital Age have grown far less attached to things.
Now I’m not saying I’m overly attached — no, that’s for those close to me to tell you all about. Maybe I’ve reached a new point in my life when I’m a lot less sentimental than I was before. But today when I looked at some of those files, I thought to myself, “Eh, I haven’t even looked at these in years. There’s no chance of me using them again. Fuck it.” Deleted.
During my conversation with Marco, we then discussed how easy it could potentially be to stream or reacquire lost content and I even brought up the fact that having recently rebuilt my PC, a few lost files seems so much more insignificant when compared to a lost graphics card or failed motherboard, or what have you.
Thus the realisation occurred, and mind you it’s not exactly an epiphany of any sort since any technological naysayer Luddite has probably been going on about it for years, but nonetheless, it struck me relatively to myself for once, that the so-called Digital Age really has done a number on us as people capable of attachment.
The difference of course, is that where the technological naysayer Luddite would have you believe that it’s a bad thing, I humbly beg to differ. It’s a great thing, if you think about it. Lost a hard drive with stuff on it? Bummer. Sure. It was a great collection of stuff. But you know what? It can be recovered. You can get it back. And that, for me, is pretty fucking rad.
Mind you, there are some collections — and I certainly have particular folders on my hard drive — that cannot simply be replaced, and in this situation the idea of a physical backup sounds amazing, doesn’t it? You want to keep that stuff around when things fail? You create a backup of it somewhere else, just in case the worst happens.
In that way, we’ve become a lot less sentimental about what we keep on our hard drives. I looked at a YouTube video of a press conference that I downloaded a while back, about something to do with gaming development I don’t really remember, and I thought to myself, “Well I obviously haven’t watched it yet because I have no idea what it is, and that tells me I’m probably not going to watch it any time in the future. Meh. If I want it back, then when I remember what it is I’ll just download it again.” Deleted.
I love the so-called Digital Age. You could almost say I’ve grown quite attached to it. Haven’t you?