Say What? Google’s Patenting a Throat Tattoo?

by | Nov 18, 2013

According to a post this week by CNN, that appears to be the shape of things to come—a high-tech tattoo has been designed for the human neck.

“The patent says the tattoo would communicate with smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and wearable tech like Google Glass via a Bluetooth-style connection and would include a microphone and power source” (source).

So what’s actually happening here? Is the tattoo much ado about nothing, or is it a symbol signifying matters of greater import?

It would seem the word yes is a better bet than no, but okay, is it good or bad? In many respects, that’s not the question. It is. The tattoo is a sign of what’s come to be, or soon will be.

What’s obvious is this—there is something most significant going on in our larger human sphere. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

The tattoo-revelation is more than a bit of isolated high-tech news. Last week, Twitter made its début on the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter’s messaging was clear, the company has a mission. The aim is to make Twiter the “real life companion” for the 2.4 billion people now connected via the internet.

The question is what does all this mean? What does this companion for real life have to say about your life, and mine? Do we simply say, ‘Cool’? It seems that issues of selfworth must arise, mingled in with the wonder of tweets and tattoos.

The medium is the message. The form of any object bears an implicit message. In the case of some objects, widespread aspirations arise; worldviews adjust. We see ourselves in ways not seen before.

One of the major themes in the Estillyen work is media—its impact on life. While the Estillyen monks do not advance a negative view of media, they do offer a kind of questioning commentary, on what it means to navigate for meaning in a world of mediated messages. They have much so say about the swirl of words, images and sounds.

The Estillyen monks also have a unique way of drilling down on words that matter most. Sometimes, they do so with a stoke of humor. This is clearly seen in the way they have devloped the character of Lucifer, and incorported his role in their readings. The monks have even given Lucifer a signature song titled, Happenstance and Chance. The opening lines read:

Happenstance and chance. Flow and flap.

Say what you wish and will, old chap.

Mix up your words. Swirl ’em around;

don’t get precise when you jot them down!

I would argue our new age of mediating messages is a matter of great import, as great as any faced in the world today. The issues surrounding this topic will only compound and mount in the years ahead.

The Estillyen message flows towards introspection and stilling, towards words that help us grasp human worth. So important is this message. Human beings have an inate desire to center in a message; we long for story, not for words in bits and pieces.


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