Monday, January 26, 2009

Agree to proceed

Lovely photo courtesy of Jennifer Spires

I had a modest spiritual experience reading this article in February's Esquire over a spicy Mexican mocha at Common Grounds, as the barista turned up the stereo playing, perfectly, Modest Mouse's Float On.

I demand you read the entire article, but if you absolutely can't, here's the first 250 words:

There is this thing we do. It's a small thing. It's a formality, at worst an annoyance. We do it every time we buy a computer or a device requiring software. We do it when we download software online, and then when the software is updated. We do it in order to buy things. We do it in order to sell or share things. We do it in order to find dates and to expand the universe of friendship. We do it in order to express ourselves in writing or film or song, and then we do it in order to read and to watch and to listen. It is the act of everyone, and it involves everything. And what it is — what we do — is this: We agree. We agree to the terms and conditions of service. We agree to use a product that is not our own — that is licensed, not sold. We agree to entrust and, if our trust is broken, to forgive. In what might be called the opposite of the moment of truth, we are given a choice, to accept or to decline, and we accept. We are in the habit of assent, and so the world we live in is the world we have helped bring into being. It is the power of our powerlessness. Our virtual signatures are everywhere, and yet we lost track of them long ago and have no idea what liabilities they might entail — what we've given up and to whom we've given it... (continued here)

1 comment:

janet said...

What can we say about that, except "I remember those things. I remember standing at my door with a repairman out on the porch. I was talking to a friend, and as I was going to say something about the president, I stepped away from the door in case the repairman might hear me, and I was thinking, 'Wow, I have never done that before. We really are in a new place, a dangerous time when little freedoms are questioned -- where paranoia about our personal safety and privacy has somehow cropped up.'" Assent...I will have to think about that....