Technology and Categories

This morning, the dishwasher pissed me off. For the quadrillionth time, a spoon’s handle fell through one of the .5cm2 squares put in the silverware basket so water (and dirt) could move freely about. Generally, dirt is smaller and dishes are larger, but the mesh couldn’t eliminate the possibility of utensil handles falling through without also trapping larger chunks, “cleaning” utensils in a sort of sanitized crap-pool.

The mind thinks in categories, or discreet entities. The world exists as no such thing, and we make technology to sort out the difference – to find a physical existence of our social categories. We don’t want the unclean on our silverware. Unclean is generally small pieces. We don’t want mosquitoes in our ponds – critters that need still water with no oil slick on the surface. Oh, but dragonflies are so nifty. Turnips are edible and easy to grow – keep ‘em. Dandelions are edible and easy to grow – kill it! (seriously, why?) Only a robot with my brain can truly know what I want growing in my garden.

Here is one problem of the modern world – children grow up believing categories have a physical existence that do not because technology is advanced enough to sort it out most of the time. Only when children are exposed to wild nature, if just for short spans of time (like camping), can their minds truly grow.