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Sliding Into…What?

January 4, 2014

At 58, its pretty easy to be depressive.

Absent a mid-life retool, formal education is done. Absent May-December liaisons, if you have children they are usually formed fully enough that rather than looking forward to their development you are dealing with their realities. Absent a severe economic turnaround, we are in a known profession with defined upsides.

In short, we are beyond the middle but far (hopefully) from the end. At birthdays, anniversaries and, yes, New Year’s denominations the defined, and perhaps diminished, futures get a stark freezeframe in the continuum.

This frozen calendar page has an asterisk – we may be in a static mode, but the rest of the world is sliding into a different modality. Unlike the ’60’s where rejection of the “Establishment” was a fashion choice, our change is driven by raw, morality and ethos blind forces.

Technological explosion is no longer sexy and cute: it’s become unrelenting. All communications are in our pocket, as is every factoid, and every job, date, hobby and social anything has internet-based re-invention overwhelming their characteristics – both fundamental and cosmetic.

It is a Borg Cube of inevitability, engorging, digesting and excrementing every aspect of every life in an inexorable push to new places to engorge and process into unrecognizable newness. It’s not driven by desire, aesthetics or morality: the cyber and data explosion has rendered almost every mechanism that existed before 2,000 a dead technology walking.

Cars will drive themselves. Soldiers will do battle with a lethal Game Cube. Doctors will be digital. Farming will be hands free. Babies will be digitally enhanced. Nothing, nothing will go unchanged because everything gets more profitable, easier, faster and more accessible. In theory.

Right now, we have one foot in the last millennium, but the Forbidden Fruit has been consumed, and whether Jobs or Gates gave it to us, we are no longer in Kansas anymore, let alone Paradise.

It was fun the first time an e-blast announced an event, an article, a joke – now that giddy empowerment has become an obligation. Our children largely text instead of date. No restaurant is a surprise – only the one or two menu items not on their website. Every purchase is comp-ed world-wide, 24-7. We know someone can note every call, email and website we visit, but we seem inured to any downside as the upsides are so pervasively embedded in every act created, assisted or enhanced by an exquisitely lubricious slide into the technologically-dependant life.

The entire world has come to pull the veil off of every spoiler alert – we know, or should know, everything about everything, instantly. Innocence is a fault. Ignorance is inexcusable. Delayed response makes no sense. Perspective is oxymoronically instantaneous.

Change now happens by crowd-sourcing – marriage is redefined by obvious consensus in less than a decade, weed is evolving into beer, part-time has become full time.

The 58 year old mindset cannot disclaim these redefinitions as being from another universe – Jobs and Gates and their infections are my peeps. We, the Boomers, authored a serial saga that has gone completely off the rails we are comfortable with, and now simply react to.

My peeps collectively sought “King of the World” status by wresting cultural control from the Greatest Generation by the redefinition of gender roles, ending racial and sex-preference prejudice, unlimiting sex before (and often after) marriage, and completely disconnecting sex from creating children (on every level). Unfortunately what we thought was an endgame is, as evolutions always are, just more wrungs on a ladder – but that ladder is now a high speed elevator.

I actually remember Elevator Operators. Like bank tellers, they slowly ebbed to become a novelty, then vanished. We in the 58 year old zone can sense our own impending novelty status.

We will remember analog lives when no one else ever experienced them. We will have had land lines, cable television and formatted parties.

We will be the Elevator Operators trapped in a cab that is controlled by someone’s cell phone, somewhere. We hope we are going up, but really, how would we know?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Hanna permalink
    January 4, 2014 11:29 am

    I am glad you are in the elevator with me, friend! Going up…or down.

  2. jon saltzberg permalink
    January 5, 2014 9:15 pm

    Essay was well-written, Duo; I think you have to have a mindset of continually re-evaluating how much use you’re getting out of technology; for example, is facebook helping you be closer to friends, or is it bombarding you with more and more unwanted silliness? Do you need to know the exchange rate for the Malaysian Baht every second of every day? I”m 55, and I still don’t have (and may never get) an IPhone, however strange that makes me; I do all my internet work from my home computer.


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