Wow, it’s already 2016. Kind of hard to believe isn’t it? But it’s really here - it really is the future.
I’ve been trying to think of something to write about for a couple of weeks now, and coming up short. Which is actually a little funny, considering how much I enjoy writing, but also a little sad for the same reason. So instead of doing that, I’m just going to ramble and see if I can’t locate a point somewhere along the way.
There’s been a lot of stuff floating through my media sphere in the last few months. The more active and engaged I get online, the more active and engaged I become with the wide variety of issues we currently face, here at home in the U.S., and all over the world. War, terror, refugees, racism, police brutality, corrupt politics, economic crisis… after a while it all blurs together into a thick, foul-smelling soup of ideas. It’s easy to let all that stuff enter our lives because it’s been made easy. Our access to the world is incredible, and increasing every day. We’re hooked up to a digital I.V. that pumps our subconscious full of whatever happens to slide across our feed as we scroll.
On one hand I think that our level of connectivity is the best thing to happen to humanity since the invention of the book or the library, because information sharing allows us (at least in theory) to organize globally as a cohesive whole. It allows us to work with people from places we’ll never physically travel on shared causes and interests, and it has the potential to lead to a sort of global community the likes of which could redefine what it means to be human. We could actually end up being the first wave in citizens of a united world, breaking the imaginary borders that current divide us.
On the other hand, I find that there’s often very little attention being paid among members of my generation to exactly what is being fed to them through their screens. We’ve also become dependent on our ability to communicate through electronic devices to a worrisome extent - not that such communication itself is worrisome, but rather that it has the potential of leading to the atrophying of other social and critical abilities because we rely upon it too much.
I’m not bringing this up for the purpose of considering some sort of survivalists fantasy about the power going out and technology universally breaking down - a direction I often see this discussion go. I’m focusing not on the potential of society breaking down should our technology cease to function, but rather our inability to maintain certain aspects of our independence and humanity in the face of a total reliance on technology. This isn’t a question of “what will happen if we can’t access the internet”, it’s a question of “what happens if the only contact we can get, ever, is through the internet”.
It’s an interesting line of thought, especially for people interested in social and ethical philosophy, as well as those who share my interest in psychology and neurology. Something truly unprecedented is taking place in our world, and we’d be completely lacking in intelligence if we ignored it out of a gut reaction. I’ve heard the argument offered before that concerns over the nature of our technological age are comparable to ancient fears over the increasing popularity of books and the written word over verbal skills and memorization. I don’t believe that this is at all an adequate comparison. Technology’s progress doesn’t necessarily need to be slowed, and we certainly don’t need to try and take refuge in some sort of agrarian past, but neither should we delude ourselves into thinking that the experiences on the horizon - right at the fore of our technological tidal wave - are at all comparable to anything we, as a species, have faced before.
I think I’ll aim to start wrapping this up there, it’s felt good to get some words out of my head. I really would like to make writing a more regular practice, though I fear that my journal here may be too limiting for me to feel comfortable becoming highly active. Perhaps a switch to Wordpress is in order, though that requires time and money i might not have until summer.
There are a bunch of other things fermenting in the back of my mind. I want to levy some strong criticisms against the concept of ‘microaggressions’ at some point, but that will require considerably more study, because I really want to take a unique approach to this topic, one which explores fully how important and exciting I believe other parts of the “politically-correct” movement are. Actually, a friend of mine recently wrote an article that briefly covers some history of the above term, I strongly recommend that you give it a read, and not just because it’s delightfully snarky.
I also have numerous pieces on ethics that I want to start writing, but once again, that’s going to have to wait until I have more free time. Until that magical day, I will try to keep updating my blog here, if only with my random daily thoughts and doings.
Happy 2016 everybody.
A lot of people bring up the following when I discuss Bernie Sanders with them, so I feel it's important to address directly.
"I don't feel like he's going to win."
The point that Bernie has always run behind is that it doesn't matter if he wins this race or not, because in the end it's what he's running for that matters. His ideals have been accepted and praised by the younger generations, because they mirror how the younger generations see the world. He's brought out record numbers of younger folks, helping make the point that the younger generations are not apathetic about politics, but actually quite actively engaged in the internal processes of our government. The younger generations in our country are tired of the policymakers who have been running the country into the ground, and Bernie has shown us that there is an alternative. Bernie has managed to spread his points to the minds of millions of young people who want to make this country, and the world, a better place to live - and who are recognizing that the previous couple of generations did a really poor job of handling things. This is what matters.
Bernie may not win the Democratic nomination. But that doesn't subtract in the least from the validity and poignancy of his messages. One way or another there will be a political revolution in this country, and Bernie Sanders has already played a dramatic and incredible role in bringing that about.
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