Finally, the much awaited* follow-up to Philosophy Majors Run Tech Support (Part 1):
Customer: Lately, I’ve noticed that my laptop battery has been dying really quickly. I’m not sure what the problem is.
Tech Support: Well would you really consider that a problem, given the alternative?
TS: With the inevitability of death, the only alternative to dying quickly is dying slowly.
Which is better? It’s hard to say for sure.
Would you rather have a slow decline, with enough time to plan for the end–but also enough time to dwell upon every grain of vitality that slips away, until down to just a sliver? Or would you rather have that life yanked away with hardly any warning–but hardly any dreading anticipation either?
But perhaps the question comes down to not just how quickly it dies, but how quickly it lives.
Some seek to race through their existence, leading lives which end quickly, but not before getting their share of excitement and danger and joy and conflict and achievement and loss. Others are equally content to languor along the journey, leading lives which are longer, if less densely packed. Perhaps the only real tragedy is to die faster than one lives.
So you ought focus not so much on how much time passes before your battery trickles away to zero, but on what actions it produces in that fleeting window of power.
C: Uh yeah, I guess I was running a lot of apps at the same time, if that’s what you’re getting at.
C: I’m trying to update my software on my phone, but it says that I don’t have enough space. Do I have to delete a bunch stuff from memory before I can get the new version?
TS: Ah, the dilemma of progress. At times, it seems that we must choose between holding on to our memories of the past and moving onto to future.
There are those who remain attached to their pasts and refuse to relinquish them in order to hop on the latest bandwagon of “progress.” They ignore the nagging messages to bring themselves up-to-date, unconvinced that the newest tools have as much worth as their stockpile of moments, conversations, and personal history, weighted with nostalgia and lessons learned.
Eventually, these people will get left behind, unable to function properly in the world we live in, unable to communicate with those who have moved on, unable to accept new developments.
But these people are not the only ones who are misguided.
You may be eager to wipe away your past for the promise of something newer and better. You don’t want that weight slowing down your forward progression.
But often, you’ll find that the moment of change is not the great leap forward that you imagined would render all your previous experiences irrelevant. And as you advance in shaky half-steps, you’ll still need those same old memories to make sense of the present.
Because you know what they say about those who forget history . . . Though you are always looking forward, you find yourself in repeating cycle: making moments to delete as you jump into the next round, never holding on, never building up.
For genuine progress, we need to find a space for our past memories to be held and referenced, without allowing them to dominate the forefronts of our lives.
C: So you’re saying that I should make a backup before I erase stuff from the phone? Got it.
*By whom? Maybe just me.