Slated for Improvement

I touched it, and it was amazing.

Now, now, don’t let your mind go somewhere it shouldn’t. I’m talking about the huge release of the weekend…Apple’s iPad. Notice I didn’t say the huge event of the weekend. And that is sort of my point.

As some of you have guessed from my Twitter whining, I’ve been under the weather for nearly two weeks. Friday evening I decided that it wasn’t just seasonal allergies run amok, and went to the doctor, after which point I had digressed into laying on the sofa and waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. After a week that just hadn’t really gone according to schedule, especially as Holy Week observances went, this was the icing on the proverbial cake, causing me to miss the Good Friday observance that I had earnestly desired to attend. I’m normally not overly into communal religious observances, but Advent and Easter are events to be observed for my spiritual well-being, and I honestly felt as though I had neglected God this week. I know, I know…its not like He thinks less of me, but still…I felt…discombobulated.

By Saturday afternoon, thankfully, the antibiotics had caused an amazing improvement, and we were able to keep dinner plans with a friend. After, we decided to go look at the iPad, as we are all three Apple addicts…umm, I mean, fans. As we would expect from the artistry of Apple, it was gorgeous, and I can’t wait to purchase the two that Karen and I plan to obtain. Seriously, however, I am glad that she understands the spiritual responsibilities of financial impulse control, because had I still been single, I would have left with one in hand, hang the early-adopter risks and financial consequences.

She’s good for me like that.

I was happy to feel back on track by Easter morning, although still slightly off-kilter, but at least able to participate in Easter activities. After about noon, however, all of the talk seemed to be about the iPad.

As I’ve referenced before, we are created as creators…that’s part of what the Imago Dei implies. Ultimately, that’s behind the creative impulse. We design and build, draw and paint, rhyme and sing because it is inherent to us. We accept the beauty of the landscape around us, and add to it with what we build, completing that landscape, if you will, with our own cityscapes. We do this because we are not whole if we are not creating, and we long to make because we were made. Thus, all of us are creative. This is not just the realm of the so-called artists. My father is a true sculptor of wood, but none would attribute an “artistic bent” to him. Those of a more technical mindset, such as those apparently employed by Apple, design technology. That is how they create. And, might I say, they do an amazing job, every time.

Karen and I are Apple fans because we appreciate quality craftsmanship.  Whatever you do, I think it should be done to the utmost quality that you can attain. I feel that Apple accomplishes this far more than any other computer manufacturer. At the end of the day, however, it is at worst a tool, and at best a work of art.

The danger of art, as Lewis points out, is that it is so powerful, and transports us to such amazing places, that we can easily be misled into worshipping it. In the past 48-hours, I have heard the iPad referenced as a messiah to dying media producers. I’ve watched a vlogger turn her camera to the logo of the Apple store in front of which she stood and point upward to it, in a way that smacks a bit of falling before divinity. I’ve experienced the way shiny new things can pull you away from what is important, from the human beings around us. Even as I attribute to Apple’s craftsmanship the quality of art, I qualify by saying that, as amazing as the painting hanging in our dining room is, we would be amiss to be enwrapped by it at the expense of the dinner guests around our table.

Art enriches the human experience at a deeply existential, and even spiritual, level. Superb quality craftsmanship is to be respected, and I will always purchase the best quality craftsmanship that I can. The tendency I’ve seen of late, however, to place our creations on a sort of hi-tech altar, is disturbing. Even more disturbing is the thought that we may be attempting to fill a void with our own creations that can never be successfully filled in such a way.

I’m happy to be finished with that perfect storm of a week, in which the lines and priorities of events became slightly blurred, despite my best efforts. I’m not going to adopt a “work harder to be better” mentality, because that is destined for failure. I will merely hope to be cognizant of how to prioritize conflicting concerns in the future, because, at the end of the day, my world would not have ground to a halt had I not touched the revolution in tablet computing for another few days.

A belated wish for a wonderful Easter to you all.

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