It’s 2pm in the afternoon and the weather is becoming cold after so long. On this brisk November day, an old professor steps out in the corner lobby of the college. The golden rays of the sun cast a warm, radiant glow, leaving a bright, inviting air. This small moment of time is meaningless in an infinite universe of possible moments.

Yet, he stands and watches for perhaps five or ten minutes, before taking his leave. During his observation, he was never interrupted by a digital device. Only the ever-present world filled that moment for him. The moment, like many others, is preserved into the mind as a scientist meticulously stores his laboratory materials.

Smart phone world

The world of digital devices alters modern experience of reality. Time no longer asserts priority or influence over a moment. In a moment, a smart phone takes a picture of something nice, and preserves it in electrons. At any moment in the future, you spend that moment reflecting back on the captured moment. It will never leave you, as you preserved a digital replica.

But the missed point is the relationship between analog and digital. Analog is the pure format – there is no conversion. All digitized items suffer from quality loss when converted from analog to digital, and back to analog. Sound, colors, brightness, warmth… all factors that lack in a digital form.

Humans may invent experiences for ourselves to simulate and re-live a moment or some time, but it will only ever be a simulation. Without the ability to access time as a dimension, there is no way anything will ever be but a simulation created or influenced by modern-day humans.

Lossy compression of memory

So the smart phone age of the information era deteriorates time’s hold on capturing your attention. Just like a digital song starts analog, goes digital, and comes out analog again, we down-scale our memories on the conversion scale. It’s a lossy compression. We hold a moment in our hands, measured by pixels, over a connection and passion that comes from remembering the full power of a moment.

But the solution isn’t to abandon the digital world and cast the device aside. The solution is to promote and encourage better balance between the digital and analog worlds. Compact lenses capture a moment, but the act of capturing doesn’t have to end the moment. If your digital world is ever gnawing at your back, find time to pull out into the analog world a bit.


Featured image by Justin W. Flory. Uses content by Iris Li from the Noun Project.