Booming technology, innovations occuring every minute of every hour of every day. As soon as I’ve bought the latest phone, computer, mp3 player, camera, there is already a newer better one that does more, and seems to make a handful of other purchases obsolete and indeed excessive when I can have everything within the palm of my hand. After receiving an Ipod touch for Christmas I intimated to my friends that if I were indeed “The Man” then this was “The Technology” and easily see myself as some cosmic force, a Silver Surfer of sorts whose Technologic companion is now no longer the size of a surf board but rather fits in the palm of my hand and whizzes about the universe collecting information and sending messages as though my own private Hermes, Messenger God of Music. Indeed my only complaint about the new iPad is that it doesn’t do enough, in a time where each and every technology has more and more to offer it’s surprising that Apple would release something that while “revolutionizing the computing world” for the everyday consumer probably takes a few steps back in terms of our needs and our expectations. But I didn’t come here to talk about Apple and gizmos, because there is something more important at stake here.
To many people living in today’s rapidly evolving world many people find frustration in the rift that technology is creating in our modern day society. I agree. However I do not agree with this statement because we are less involved, fewer human connections, the impersonal nature of machines and the apathetic savants it makes of our youth and technophiles. No I believe the rift really lies in the heart of our American Culture, which is historically incredible resistant to change. Our growth as a species, along with our technologies are growing at an exponential rate. Our technology on one hand is rapidly shedding it’s old skin to make way for newer ones which constantly provide better fits (not to mention great profit margins) however ourselves as a species and as a culture are still stuck in the first half of the 20th century. There is a constant need to stick with what worked yesterday, which 100 years ago worked because of the slower nature of our evolution. However things have dramatically sped up and will continue to. What worked for our grandparents will not work for our children, indeed doesn’t even really work for us. My wish is that our cultural systems, primarily our systems of governance and education would jump in on this global step taking towards progress rather than trying to maintain the status quo. While our sciences and our engineers are asking “why not?” our politicians are arguing over “why should we?” While our most imaginative thinkers are pushing the boundaries of human thought and ability we are robbing our children of their imagination and providing increasingly uninspiring and dulling curriculums. Everyday I sat in highschool I thought of what I would do differently if I were in my teacher’s shoes, thought about how I would rather learn about these subjects than reading along with 30 other students from some age old text that only really challenged about 1/10 of the class. I wait for the day when we’re not told what rights we have, but asked what rights do we think should have, not what some piece of paper provided for some rich white males 200 years ago.
But more than these systems, when is our culture as a whole going to follow suit with our technological development? When is it going to be ok for a teacher to discipline a student, or work outside of the curriculum or give a child a hug when they need it most? When will it be ok for our politicians to be honest again, to care genuinely for the American people without fear of the media or next election day, or to actually include us in the dialogue about how we want to live our lives? When will it be ok for everyone to be themselves as they are, without this need to keep your head down like a lamb in the herd? When will it be ok, even admirable, let’s go so far as to say even realistic to be an optimist, to be excited for our tomorrow rather than hold such cynicism about this our human community. Not to mention when will we be civilised enough to stop killing our brother and sister man. I don’t know. Maybe time is on our side, like they have said of the gay marriage issue. The dividing line in America is no longer race or gender, sexual preference or social class. It’s age. And we’re all a bunch of agists, myself included, because while my elder’s are thinking I’m a fool, I don’t know enough of the world, I have too little experience, that there is a particular age you suddenly become all knowing and they’re it and I’m not, I have to admit I’m thinking all the while, you selfish old white males are ruining my country and I can’t wait til you dinosaurs kick the bucket, either that or people realize that Eisenhower era Reaganites (not to mention the equally aged spineless democrats) might not really be hip to what’s going on in America, and indeed don’t have the tools to get their hands dirty and dig it. Sure there are some 40+ progressives, but their own generation has mostly regarded them as loons, written them off and work only to embarass or ignore them. The techno boomers are charging up baby boomers and if you don’t get out of our way- well, good thing you’ve got health insurance.
Now I don’t want to kick you out necessarily, I just want everyone to have an equal spot at the table, in fact I’d invite those that have been opressed and worked and ignored for millenia, those little people you said we should only see and not hear, that’s right- our children. All should be at the table, those that have, those that are and those that will. And it’s about time our society ramps it up a notch and keeps pace with our technology. Otherwise we will be doomed by it, rather than succeed by it.