2010 sounds futuristic. It has that sci-fi ring to it. But here it is upon us, our brand new year. 2010 is no longer the future, it is present day, and you and I are a part of it. The number itself connotes images of far out technology and the dehumanizing of society that all those science fiction movies warned us about. But looking around I see no androids doing all our menial work, there are no rocket backpacks zooming us around and there are no Soylent Green manufacturing plants. Surprisingly, much of what life is today was what it always was, not all of it mind you, but much of it.
Even though we now live in “the future,” we still sleep in beds that were basically designed a couple of hundred years ago. For the most part, we eat the same things that human beings always ate, we still tie our shoes in the same way that our grandparents did and our lawns still need to be mowed, bushes need to be trimmed and plants need watering just as much as they ever did.
We humans still see with our eyes, speak with our mouths and listen with our ears (although some of us could do with more listening and less speaking). We still get tired, get hungry and feel pain. We get tooth aches, back aches and sore feet. We still catch colds, stub our toes, get splinters in our fingers and burn our tongues on hot foods.
Little boys still like getting dirty, climbing trees and scaring little girls. Little girls still enjoy playing with their hair, dressing up and teasing little boys. Teenagers still rebel against their parents, teenage boys still do stupid, dopey things and try to impress girls, and teenage girls still giggle, talk like airheads and try to make themselves attractive to boys.
We still fall in love and cry at weddings. We still overeat at Thanksgiving, blow out candles on our birthday cakes and sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve. We still sing Christmas carols and watch fireworks on the 4th of July. We still need the approval of those we care about most and take care of the loved ones who cannot care for themselves. We humans still need to be needed.
In these futuristic times motivations and desires are as they have always been. The world still turns on those same needs and incentives. The forces of money, power and sex are unchanging and as powerful as they ever were. Ambition, luck, hard work and the right connections are still the ingredients for success. Greed is still with us, as is selfishness, hate and self pity. Some things never change in the futuristic world.
The physical makeup of human beings has not changed; we are skin, bone, blood, muscle and water. We live, we get sick and we die. Some things never change. But some things do. The world of 2010 is certainly not the same as the world of 1910. Our world isn’t the world of 1945 or even 1980. In general, the world has grown coarser, meaner and much more vulgar.
Many pretences and niceties have been discarded. We no longer dress for dinner, or to travel, or for church or synagogue, or really anything at all. We no longer care who hears our private conversations in public. It seems we just don’t try to control ourselves anymore. Young woman swear like the proverbial drunken sailors, narcissism is commonplace, the concept of “shame” is gone, as is teaching children to be well-behaved in public. Accountability, responsibility and self-reliance have been replaced by the victim-hood mentality.
Men’s attitude toward women has been altered so that many of the graces that a gentleman once showed to a lady do not exist anymore. Holding doors, pulling out chairs, standing when a woman enters a room, watching your language when in the company of the “fair sex,” these things are simply not done and are considered laughable in our “enlightened” age.
There are other changes too. There is no getting around the fact that technology has made enormous advances in our society over the last couple of decades. Land line telephones are fast disappearing as more and more people choose to own only cell phones. The advances in computers and other electronic devices have completely changed our lives and will continue to change the way we communicate and interact with each other.
And so here we are in the new year of 2010. Some things have not and will not ever be altered, while some other things will never be the same again. But still the human race goes on and, with it, a little old-fashioned thing called hope. As in New Year’s of the past, we still hope for the best for ourselves, for our family, for our country and for the future. I hope the New Year is good to you. Happy New Year all!