After Perfecting Our Senses, What’s Next?


            My introductory course on utilizing Adobe Photoshop Elements® begs the question: Why are people so infatuated with ideas of perfection?

             Trying too hard to improve a visual image makes it appear “Photoshopped,” which is bad; yet we are also taught that the pixels forming a photograph may not be good enough.  We acquire subtle techniques for modifying light and shadow; and more dramatic ones like the wholesale removal of objects on view.

             Our cultural passion for enhanced sensory input is not limited to the visual.  Celemony Software now offers Direct Note Access® for $399.00; to digitally correct the notes of a single instrument in a polyphonic recording. It’s like eyeglasses for your ears.

             Fragrances have a digital footprint that can be diffused in an environment to suggest a mood. Culinary adjustments, however, still depend on their traditional manual variations based on herbs, spices, sauces and the like.

             Since all the information we ever accumulate from outside ourselves arrives through our senses, input is everything.  There is no distinguishing the data stream arriving in our eyes, ears or elsewhere from any different data that may exist outside our bodies. When we adjust another person’s incoming data stream with software, hardware (like a cochlear implant), or other techniques; we change their perception of the World. And by doing so, we attempt to communicate a more focused message of visual appearance, sound or taste.

             Looking to the future, I expect reverse-engineering of the process in which a monkey’s brain waves recently operated a mechanical arm. The flip side of that communications path starting and ending in our brains will be an alternate reality. Perhaps we will find it more perfect, persuasive or satisfying, but I am not convinced it will be any better than what existed before.