Sunday, January 25, 2015

Juxtapositions

The most striking feature of living and working in Silicon Valley is the extreme contrast between technology and nature. On campus, I am surrounded by towering redwood trees and verdant hillsides. As my eyes trace serpentine trails in the distance, the click-whir of an electric car startles me from my reverie. The sheet metal giant who shares the view with me is unmoved by such noises, continuing his silent meditation as I navigate between his feet. The air hums with connection, thick with the invisible media of 21st Century communication.

The transition from garden to workstation does not jar the senses as it might in a less cared-for space. The glass walls leave the room open to the wild, filling my eyes with trees and sunshine. Ephemeralization of devices enables attending to work, ears filled with the murmur of winding water. The utopic vision made evident here is healing, a restorative against the bare concrete freeways and the cacophony of cars, malls, and music that make up much of our shared human space.

In this place, the wild, untamed frontier of the planet meets the wild, untamed frontier of human endeavors. Rather than meet in conflict, here they merge into one another, each one growing and thriving in the same space. Achieving the balance requires continued maintenance, care, and compromise, along with attention to the needs of the natural world, human and non-human alike.