This is my first post since my MacBook Pro’s startup disk failure, a failure which resulted in the installation of an entirely new hard drive. Roughly 500 dollars later, I am now starting from scratch. All my book-notes, papers, photos, and applications have disappeared, replaced by empty folders and the barren fuchsia galaxy that graces all default Macs’ background.
My computer has long been a harbinger of personal knowledge, communication, and reflection. Without its memory, my laptop has become a become a vestige of its former self, staring back at me with the blankness of an amnesia victim.
A common exercise in humility involves decision-making in the event of a natural disaster: “In the event of a fire/hurricane, what item(s) you bring along with you before you left?” The impending logic behind this hypothetical is the revealing of what is truly important in your life. One who places his memories above all would most likely save family photos, while the knowledge-driven would most likely rush for their most prized pieces of literature.
I’d guess that the most typical answer would involve some form of a personal computer. The current generation of computers has attempted to commodify themselves as “personal media centers.” Apple goes so far as to coin its’ all-in-one media program “iLife,” a testament to the reliance contemporary society has placed upon their computers. Photographs, album, papers, and films, likely fire-saving entities prior to the PC, have been replaced by .jpegs, .docs, .mp3s, and .avis, all easily aggregated and accessible.
Had I been asked this question yesterday, I’d have most likely ceded with the majority. However, upon finding out that my hard drive was past the point of information retrieval, I was largely unaffected. To my surprise, the notion that years of collected media was completely erased was met with indifference, a zen-like calm which I’ve maintained since I picked up my computer.
While I’m certainly not ready to rid myself of material vices entirely, I’ve taken solace in the fact that I truly took everything in stride. While my book-notes and old papers may have gone by the wayside, the digressions, epiphanies, and opinions acquired as a result still reside comfortably in my consciousness. Despite my material losses, I am the still the same freethinking, healthy individual as I was yesterday.
Disclaimer: I certainly don’t want to stress that this experience is for everyone. If the reader gains anything from this post, learn from my misfortune. Backup, backup, backup.