Beyond Tool

clawhammer

 

Hammers are pretty useful objects around the house. This is a photograph of a claw hammer - it can be used to bang nails in things like sheets of wood and plastic, and then remove the nails later. A hammer is a tool. But the hammer pushes back because by using it, I now have to think about what certain materials are made of and what it means to layer objects on top of one another. Computers, and the mathematics that drives them, are like hammers--you cannot use a computer without being fundamentally changed. You think differently when you interact with computers and add numbers together when paying the bill at a restaurant. And since almost everything has a computer in it these days, that means that your philosophy, well-being, and way of knowing the world are all rapidly evolving. It doesn't seem like that should be so. Why can't we just use something that interfaces with a computer and treat the computer tool as, essentially, invisible? Because using a tool is a two-way street. Now that I know my hammer is talking back to me, I am a little worried.