Updated: Oct 24, 2020
The second song on The Presence of That Absence called I Can't See Your Face has nothing to do with the face masks most of us are wearing to combat the spread of the coronavirus. That's a coincidence. In fact none of the songs on the album have to do with the Covid pandemic. But they do have to do with certain living conditions in our time which Covid has amplified.
The absence referred to in the song is about the steady decrease of face to face in-person encounters in our daily lives. It's kind of ironic and revealing that in these days of growing facial recognition technology, we have fewer face to face interactions with other people and more with computers. We rarely go out to be with, and meet new friends or visit with old friends the way we used to. Instead we email, text, use social media, or screen substitutes like Facetime and Zoom and occasionally call on our cell phones. Let's be honest. You don't have to actually be a friend to "friend" someone on Facebook, or be a follower, or a fan or whatever....
Almost anything (food, cars, loans, beds, furniture, books, you name it) can be delivered to our home instead of going out to a mall, shopping center, restaurant or taking a stroll in-town with other members of our community. We are offered endless entertainment on thousands of streaming channels so concerts and movies can be "consumed" at home as well.
And now for the final straw, the coronavirus is conditioning us to look at each other as threats to each other's health and well-being. Forcing us to stay apart without handshakes, hugs, and definitely no kisses. A faceless technology is right there ready to jump in, fill the gap, and drive stock market earnings in ways that increasingly shape our culture and increase our dependency on it.
It's impossible to escape the fact that technology has tremendous capabilities to improve our lives as long as we shape it, and not the other way around. The industrial revolution is a great example of innovations in technology which created negative effects we are still recovering from today. If the fabric of human relationships unravels and we celebrate it as progress, I think we need to remember that progress is meaningless to the great eternal principles like faith, love, grace, goodness and truth precisely because they are timeless and not trending on Twitter. And you know what else? I just miss the things facial expressions say which can't be edited or put into words.
To hear I Can't See Your Face, please click on the Soundcloud button on the homepage.