Digital Beard Stroking: Extending Efficacy

Extending Efficacy

We, as physical beings, can interact with the world around us.  The extent to which we can do so, our efficacy, is a product of our bodies, our tools, our circumstances and our cleverness in applying those things.  One of the great, unending struggles in humanity is extending that efficacy and overcoming our shortcomings.  We already looked at the psychological catharsis in consuming media as a way to circumvent those limitations, but that still doesn’t change the very real limitations we have.  Let’s look at some of the ways we can improve our real world abilities.  First, easiest and least extensible is our bodies.

You had to see this coming

This is pretty self explanatory:  You have a body.  It’s got limitations in that it can only be in one place at a time.  You have, at most, two arms.  You can lift things but probably less than your own body weight.  You can improve this by strenuous workouts and commitment to health and fitness. The circumstances surrounding it are somewhat in our control, but largely, it’s a product of that hard work and the changes are minimal.  That’s not super interesting, at least for a blog not aimed at bodybuilders.  Instead, my focus is because it is the most upgradeable, the most accessible and the most real: our tools.

We’re surrounded by fantastic tools that augment our abilities to superhuman levels.  In my pants pocket, I have a device that I can use to call people anywhere in the world and talk to them privately.  Beyond that, I can record anything around me and retain it indefinitely, uploading it to an offsite location for security.  I can tap into this massive collection of data and learn almost any fact, hear almost any music, interact with people in so many ways.  Don’t even get me started on the gaming aspects!  These slim pieces of plastic and glass are amazing personal efficacy extenders.  Our entire existence is expanded in ways our forebears could never even imagine!

Well, except maybe these guys

Ah, an astute reader may point out, but there are certainly issues with these fantastic little devices!  There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!  You’d certainly be correct and I would compliment you on your quick Heinlein reference!  These personal efficacy extenders are reliant on quite a few circumstances and are at the mercy of our cleverness.  The most powerful smartphone on the market today is of little use when the battery is completely dead.  Likewise if it, or you, are at the bottom of the ocean.  Even in this modern world, there’s still places beyond the reach of nG(4G, 3G, 2G, piG whichever).  These things become little more than poor quality mirrors and reasonable quality coasters.  Likewise, our manipulation of them is limited by our own understanding and inventiveness.  Someone with the knowhow or inclination may know how to convert a powerdrill into a charger or patch in an extended antenna, thus obviating those concerns.  Similarly, someone with a deep understanding of their software can extract far more usefulness than one whose understanding is limited to making calls and sending texts.

This balance between our tools, our understanding and our circumstances is a constant reminder that we will never truly surpass this aspect of our humanity.  As we improve our circumstances by improving the cell network coverage, as well as power infrastructure and GPS satellites, it becomes less of a concern than it ever was.  As we expand our understanding of technology, we can glean even more tricks and techniques to expand our efficacy.  Both of these directly inform the development of our tools, and our tools affect them.  Thus, these three things are constantly racing each other and transcending previous limitations to levels we have a hard time accurately predicting!

Unfortunately, the bodybuilder guys are still on their own.



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