Sunny, cold mornings in the midst of summer don’t stir memories as do the fires of fall or the stirrings of early spring. Fall days bring reminders of chores to be done, of days lost to staring at computer screens and trying to make some sense of the world. The spring days brings a renewed sense of hope and fresh air to my world.
I sit trying to understand a world where the old ways have begun to accelerate their demise – cracked in the world wars of the last century, and the incessant smaller conflicts. Chunks of our humanity have been removed in the technology explosion of the late century, the chip-driven, world we live in is far removed from those days of slow Sundays and pleasant parks.
It is a walled world; a world of fear on one side with immense but unusable power and the pounding of the mass outside the gates looking on. Gates don’t last forever, particularly electronic ones, and this one is crumbling under the pressure. There is a rush to get in on the final days of the empire – to get enough to protect oneself and family and to grab a taste of the good life while it still exists in all its excessive glory.
I don’t remember mornings like this from my childhood. I was blessed in that my childhood was gloriously normal, spent doing childhood things like building tree houses and fording swamps on the way to conquest and adventure.
It’s all a blur of things that children find important – that the neighbor farmer shot a crow every year and hung the carcass in one of the fruit trees to keep the crows away from the corn. That his wife was up every morning at sunrise to weed the endless rows of vegetables by hand – one elbow on her knee supporting herself as she bent over pulling weed after weed from the spotless fields of plants. Of carrying water from their well to our house before my dad dug our well by hand. Of my brother falling, fracturing his skull but living for another 30 years and being so proud of his bandage-hat. The horseshoe scar was a forever-reminder of that adventure.
I remember hot days beside the swimming pool playground (it cost a quarter to go swimming – big money in those days) and we’d sometimes swim in the pool and sometimes swim in the creek beside it. The creek had currents to float on (until you hit the shallows and bumped painfully across the rocks) and the pool was chlorine crystal-clear to hurt your eyes.
I remember those days and marvel at the end of them; lost in the progress of the chip. And I mourn that lost innocence.
But the wonder of these days entrances me.
- How fast we all move.
- How far our horizons could be.
- What separations we’ve created in our lives and societies.
If the printing press brought on a hundred years of civil unrest in politics, religion and society, how long will this computer impact last?
And more to the point, who will survive afterwards? And what will this world look like?
Even more to the point, what are you doing to make it more human?