When I was in elementary school, we had a “Holiday” pageant. It was about the time where you had to start embracing that people didn’t all celebrate Christmas and shit like that. You know, while we pretty much sang exclusively Christmas carols. Anyway, we had these little speaking lines in between the songs, and I remember mine was: You could say, however, that modern technology has its advantages and disadvantages.
I was eight, and at first, I remember being sort of mad that I got the short line. But then, I had the short line, with the biggest words, and the music teacher praised me for having such a strong, clear speaking voice in the microphone. We all love those moments where our vanity can go, “Fuck yeah, I have a beautiful speaking voice!”
Anyway, I bring that up because I wanted to talk about that, because, here I am, well over two decades later, typing a blog entry on a device that likely does a better job of computing than the first computer I ever used, which honestly, was pretty much the same year as that pageant. I regularly died of dysentary on that computer. Kudos if you know what I am referencing with that. If you don’t, you can likely type that phrase into any search engine and find out.
I had to learn to use the card catalog in grade school, but, by the time I left high school, I could type search terms in and be directed to the shelf I needed in a matter of seconds. Hell, now I don’t even need to get out of my house to learn something new. I can just go to Google, or watch a few videos on YouTube.
That part is beautiful. This connection to people and things I never would’ve experienced had technology not put this power at my fingertips. My world is smaller and faster than the one my grandparents grew up in; fuck, even the one my parents grew up in.
However, because my world is smaller and faster, I think I, like countless people around me, have become accustomed to this idea. I don’t have to wait for things; I can just get them with as minimal effort as possible. I don’t need patience in a fast moving world, because the world can accommodate meeting my needs quickly and easily.
I sometimes wonder if that’s why you see an uptick in anxiety, depression, and so many other mental illnesses. Putting your physical self through immense stress can lead to injury and illness. Why would it be any different for the mind?
It seems unreasonable to me to think that all this stimulation and instant gratification wouldn’t have adverse effects on our mental state. That it wouldn’t make our minds sick.
Although, that requires us to see mental illness the same as physical illness, and I don’t think enough of us believe that to create the shift in our world’s perception. I am optimistic about that shift occurring, though, for the simple fact that Millennials are getting older, and a lot of us seem to think that way. It also seems like the beliefs that are solidified in your early adulthood tend to carry themselves through life. I have no evidence to prove this other than experience, of course, so take it as much or as little as you please.
I am, of course, also at the age where I hear about Snapchat and go, “That shit sounds awful,” which is also why I believe this solidified belief system. At the ripe young age of 31, I already stake that technological “kids these days” crap. No delusions of being “cool” here.
Wow, a lot of related tangents. That’s pretty good.