Reprinted from C-Arts Magazine (September 2010).
I believe that the horrifying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems from the mechanization and dehumanization of our lives—the disastrous by-product of the scientific and technical mentality. Nostra culpa. Man grows cold faster than the planet he inhabits.
— Albert Einstein
One of the things I missed while living in Bali was the presence of playgrounds, so when we moved to Vancouver I started taking my four-year-old son to playgrounds all over the city. There are some award-winning playgrounds here that make an adult wish he were young enough to climb. And sometimes I do. But the most remarkable thing about these modern playgrounds, beyond the giant swinging plates, spaceship ropes and inside-out slides is the fact that it’s possible to pause the children. Dozens of children running, climbing, playing tag—and if someone suddenly yells “Pause!” all of them freeze. Everything stops. Including my son, who had never played this game.
When I first saw this, I found it disturbing. A bit too much like bad science fiction. Someone had implanted a pause function into my son while I wasn’t looking.
I figured it out a couple of days later, when he was watching Winnie the Pooh and needed to pee. He couldn’t find the remote control, so he started yelling, “Pause! Pause!” We don’t have a TV, all his movies are on DVD, and they can all be paused. So can electronic games.