Being Analog in a Digital World

It’s been said that anything that can be made digital will be or has been made digital.  For the most part, we agree and support that effort.  Reducing as many mundane tasks to a process of switching between one’s and zero’s is changing almost every aspect of life as we know it.  A funny thing happened on the way to our digital utopia though–we somehow assumed that “analog”, digital’s predecessor, was no longer relevant or needed.  We kicked analog to the curb.  LP records are the poster children of analog.  Almost overnight, those vinyl discs became “obsolete”.   The dirty little secret that any audiophile will gladly share with you, is the fact that LP (analog) records render greater fidelity than digital recordings of the same performance!  Perhaps a cautionary tale that should extend to our regard for other recent relics of the analog age.

The telephone (analog) is alive and well…sort of.  It’s still in the game until you get connected to a digital menu of  “choices” as opposed to a human being.  Something we now call a “phone tree”.  The branches on these trees seem endless–until you find a way to speak to a person or at least what you assume to be a person.  A “digitized” voice?  They work a lot cheaper and don’t take coffee breaks.  So it’s somewhat odd that the digital world tries to offer us facsimiles from the analog world.  See?  It’s almost like being there!  Other examples are obvious, but you get the point…

Analog tends to align with authenticity, and digital seems to match up better with efficiency.  Both authenticity and efficiency are important to us.  When you order off the menu, you expect to eat the entree as described and not to have to wait two hours to be served.  So both criteria go into defining your dining experience.  Which one is more important?  Who cares?  They both are.  What scares most people, and rightly so, is when they encounter situations that are driven completely by efficiency with no regard for any authenticity at the same time.  Railing against the machine.  Nothing new but certainly something far too commonplace now.

We should all take the pledge to be both digital and analog in our daily lives.  Never mistake one for the other, and never ignore one or the other.  A truly full life is defined by a commitment to both!