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  The creative life: exploring the world of creative professionals
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Remote Access
Contributor: Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®

This article is being written as I, together with my family, tour the West Coast of Southern Island. The article reflects my thoughts about the Internet Cafe, remote Internet access in general, and our inevitable journey as a species towards cyberlife.

Separate lives
I live close to a large town in the South of England where broadband is available and all the technological conveniences of a rich Western society are common place including flat-panel touch-screen guides to the local multi-million pound shopping mall, a shop on every corner selling mobile telecommunications, and a large computer superstore on one of many out-of-town retail parks.

My sister and her husband on the other hand chose the quiet life and live on a remote mountainside on the West Coast of Ireland. Their house is along a three mile track best suited to an off-road vehicle. Their water is pumped up from a stream that runs close to their house, and the only service they enjoy is electricity. They rely on the phone and Internet to keep in touch as the post van bumps up their track only once a week.

Mother Internet
When there's little around except mist, the odd sheep and the sound of trickling water from a nearby mountain stream, the fact you can access the Internet with ease is a strange affair. You realise there are unseen signals passing over, around and through you every moment of the night and day no matter where you are. This undermines the psychological state of isolation that you physically experience when half way up a mountainside. It's as if we humans now have a virtual umbilical cord we can tap into for informational food that offers a sense of security and continuity. There's little doubt this dependence will grow and may in time become a vital component of our daily existence.

The real world
There are those who would regard an all pervading presence of the Internet as undesirable and that it demonstrates an overdependance on technology and a disconnection with the 'real world'. In reality however there is no absolute 'real world'. All our experiences are filtered. We experience colour, taste, smell, touch, sound, and time differently than anyone else, and our experiences are interpreted according to our personal history and temperament. We assume a common experience because we need to connect and communicate our experiences, and it is this need that binds us together and creates a sense of commonality.

Cafe society
Internet Cafes have sprung up wherever significant numbers of well-off travellers pass through. I feel a sense of community as soon as I enter an Internet Cafe. Most are there to connect and catch up via email. Our interpersonal relationships are undergoing a significant alteration as our connectivity broadens. Our model of the 'real world' is changing in a subtle but profound way.

As connecting to the Internet becomes increasingly commonplace throughout the richer nations of the world, the Internet Cafe will only be seen in poorer countries and the most remote of locations before it eventually disappears. There's little doubt the Internet Payphone and laptop will gradually replace the more social context of the Internet Cafe as developing technologies provide the means of our future connection to the Internet.

The collective
The Internet enables and encourages connections between people. We choose to access this meeting place which continues to develop into a kind of 'collective consciousness'. As technology progresses, our means of access will continue to alter with the eventual integration of hardware hardwired into our bodies. There are many philosophical and ethical questions that we must consider and debate as this next inevitable stage in our evolution occurs. At our current rate of technological change however this new reality could be upon us within a hundred years. The first explorations of cyber technologies are already well underway.

At present, the only serious debate of these issues tends to be confined to the academic institution and the literary prophecies of science fiction. I hope in some small way AbleStable® becomes in part, a context for lively debate and discussion about these important issues.

The changing world of creativity
Creativity is at the heart of what it is to be human. I'm referring not only to the more self-conscious creativity that is associated with the creative professional, but to the kinds of creative interaction we all employ on a daily basis. We constantly solve practical, personal and social challenges by using our creative skills. I realise this opens a whole can of worms but stay with me on this...

I've long since thought our need to create is aligned closely to the knowledge of our own mortality. We want not only to express our circumstance and experience of the world to others and connect to one another as social animals, but we also wish to make our mark and leave something of ourselves for a time when we are no longer physically present. The certain knowledge that death comes to us all drives the ego of many to create something that will outlast them. This drive may not be conscious but is at the heart of our actions and behaviours.

The creative sex
Although there are many political reasons why more men become creative professionals than woman, my personal view is that men are more concerned (often unconsciously) about the prospect of death than woman. Most woman are responsible for the ultimate creative activity as they become the vessel, and nurture, the first stages of life. Men appear to compensate for their inability to conceive and nurture through the refocusing of their energies into creative activity.

I'm not suggesting woman do not also involve themselves in creative activity, nor that men are more creative. I realise also that woman are disadvantaged by practical and political circumstances, and that arguments concerning these issues are complex and have been at the heart of much debate over why women are generally less represented as being creative. My emphasis here is to put forward an apolitical position that seeks to, at least in part, explain the creative urge in men.

Coming soon at a world near you
The essential difference between men and woman (woman have babies, men don't) will alter as men become largely responsible for the design of the human cyber interface with which we will interact with our Internet. This ever evolving interface will be a far cry from the Internet Cafe, but it is the Internet Cafe where this evolution became first visible.

Men will be largely responsible for the creation of the cyber interface simply because there are more designers who are male in the technological industries. This fact may alter the psychological state of our species in a profound way as men begin to feel part of the creative and nurturing process of humankind. With this shift in our evolution, the dynamic between men and woman will alter as will our drive to create. The future is in our hands to mould as we wish...

Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

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