Dangers of Real-Time Quasi-Engagement

Today, the assignment is two sections of Paul Vrillo’s “Open Sky.” Our professor warned us that it’s pretty dense stuff, and man was she telling the truth. Each section is split into three subsections, so for the sake of brevity (and my own brain), I have picked my favorite ideas from each section to explain out below.

The Third Interval

Real Time (p. 10). Vrillo opens with a discussion of “real-time” aka the present. This made me think of a lot of different things at once. First, I thought of live TV, which has become all the rage. I am NOT a TV person at all, but while watching the Oscars last night, I wondered if what I was seeing was live. My friend answered, yes, of course. Knowing that gave the show more validity for me. I don’t know why.

Second, I thought of texting. While the conversation is occurring in reality, it does two negative things for “real time.” 1. Removes attention from what actually is happening in real time (in the present, where the user physically is) 2. Causes users to believe their conversation occurs in real time, when it is in fact taking place over the course of hours. This manipulation of real time is interesting to me, especially this part (see my slideshow). (PS: This is where my title comes in. With all the focus on “real-time” and not missing out (aka FOMO…no, I’m not joking) we lose out on our physical here and now.)

The Perspective of Real Time

Immediate memory (p. 26). Yes, this is a paradox. I wish I was surprised that Vrillo came up with another one. He introduces this idea when discussing images and photographs and our real-time focused society. With all the focus on right NOW, the past and future fade away, aka we are “telepresent to the whole world.”

He suggests this mentality leads to loss of memory. I think that is the case both in personal and societal experience. I feel that society is quicker to forget parts of our immediate history, instead of memorializing them like society past. And I’ll be the first to admit that my memory has gone down the drain; I rely too much on technology now. Since I know I can access information (Google, calendar, friends) with the click of a button, I don’t work to memorize facts or phone numbers.

Punctum (p. 27). We discussed this term in class previously, so it is interesting to get a different perspective. It means, according to Vrillo, the “real instant of the vanishing point.” 
Optics on a Grand Scale

Optics (p. 35). This is “the branch of physics that deals with the properties of light (and visual phenomena.”

Tele-existence. Vrillo suggests that this is our future, a kind of half-living with humans completely entrenched in technology. Unfortunately, I don’t think his ideas are too far from reality at this moment. He asks this question:
“How can we really live if there is no more here and if everything is now?”

This is a very valid thought to have in today’s reality. “Here” no longer means much, since we can work and communicate from practically everywhere. “Wish you were here” is obsolete; friends feel included in friends’ vacations through Facebook and Instagram photos, Twitter updates and a stream of text messages. Now, one of the focuses of today’s society, leaves no room for contemplation of the past or visualization of the future. And I think Vrillo would agree.


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