Electronics versus the real world. And oddly the real world is losing.
Because I am 50, I come from a time when people walked upright, and were observant of those things that surrounded us. For instance: trees and the song of the birds in those trees. And people, lots and lots of people. It was a visual thing. It was an audio thing. As the world went by, we participated, we watched, we did a little of each but the important thing is that we lifted our heads.
Today, however, I have come to the conclusion. I am my parents, my grandparents, my great grandparents and even my ancient ancestors because, believe it or not (and I prefer not but what am I going to do?), I find myself watching the generation that is coming up behind me, and am baffled by some of the culture.
Everywhere we go today we see our next great generation learning as we did through misinformation and bloated tales of life, love and sex. But it’s how they get that information that sets them apart. It’s not that they don’t rely on one another but their methods of communicating and interacting come with mind-bending rule changes, and a language that is unique. So, want to know about it? Text a friend. Yes, that little phone is so much more than we could ever have imagined a phone to be. In fact, when we were too young to understand how young we were, phones consisted of a dial, a mouth piece, a listening end and a wire that, if long enough to ever be practical, would tangle so tight that we ended up standing right next to the base of the phone anyway.
Today, that phone is so much more. It’s is a connection to the internet, a game station, a fashion accessory, a keyboard and a camera. And it is essential that if you want to be a part of society that you own one. And the bigger you are in this new society, the more your phone can do. But isn’t that a touch ironic, too? Today, to fit into society, you must carry the device that is the devil‘s doorway for withdrawing from society. For proof, I offer you the site of two of the next greatest generation walking down the street together. They are not looking at the trees and the bees or even oncoming traffic. Nope, their heads are down, and they are texting. Hopefully not to each other, although, go into a movie theater and see if that is as farfetched as it seems.
And it’s not just the phone. Remember tennis? Remember baseball, football or bowling? All examples of activities that used to require getting out and getting social. It required people to form teams, leagues or at the least, pairs. Not anymore. Today, it’s electronic, although somehow we are still experiencing sports related injuries from it. There’s something bigger there than meets the eye. What exactly it is, is probably a CIA, or at the least, an AMA secret.
So are you concerned for our next great generation growing up with their heads down in the chips? Not me! Remember when I said I had become my parents, grandparents, etc…? Well I have, and my column this week is disturbing proof of that. They used to comment on the amount of television my generation watched, and yet somehow the earth is still turning, even though we grew up. And how did our grandparents feel about our parent’s music? And how did our tree dwelling ancestors feel about those young Cro-Magnons hanging out in caves? See the pattern? Now I have become the pattern.
So where does all this about that leave me? It leaves me with advice for both generations. To our young up and comers, come up and look around. Meet actual people, do actual things and have an actual conversation that doesn’t involve your thumbs. And to my generation, back off. (Okay, this is me finally talking to the generation before me but the advice is still good). Every generation creates their own world that they build atop the one before it. Our generation is responsible for the groundwork of the next generation’s society. So unless we mess up, I am certain that the up and comers will do just fine.
Lloyd E. Flyer is a freelance writer and may be contacted through the “Tolucan Times” or at Alternateangle@pacbell.net.