Into the VoidAndrew Leite, Thursday July 12th, 2007
As I pondered and mulled over tonight's topic, I found myself at a total
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and complete loss of words. I couldn't, for the life of me, think of
anything noteworthy to discuss. I was absolutely stuck, tapping my pen
against my cheek for the hundredth time and gazing out the window, when,
out of the blue, my Internet froze.
Isn't that something to beat the band? Staring, wide awake in the middle
of the night, at a plethora of error messages on my computer screen
asking me to report this gross misfortune to some higher being/Internet
God. It was a disaster. What amazed me the most had to be the shrewd
sense of dread that tore through my body the moment that everything
stopped working. My heart stopped, my breath caught in my throat, my
stomach briefly turned over. "Doomed!" I screamed at the top of my
lungs. What now? Where do I go from here? How do I escape this grim
Tragedy. Fifteen years ago, Tragedy meant something. Back when we used
pens and paper rather than a keyboard to write mail; back when people
bought cassette tapes, long before the Download Era began. I remember
feeling that same sense of dread as a child when I missed my bus, or
perhaps when I was found in a frenzied game of Hide and Seek. It was a
feeling of being stranded...of being a man without a country.
Now, as I sipped my coffee and stared at the impending catastrophe on my
computer screen, I tried to understand where my real concern lied. Had
I become so desensitized as to think that something as trivial as this
technological failure could render me helpless? Did I really believe
this to be a true indication of a Judgment Day to come? I mean, without
the Internet, what else did I have?
And that is how tonight's topic, Friends, came to fruition. Tell me,
reader, have you ever left your house for work, only to realize that
sick, sinking sensation that you have forgotten to bring your cellular
phone along for the ride? How many of you, in that same scenario, would
make an erratic, screeching U-Turn and dash home to retrieve it? How
many of you feel naked and exposed without that tiny, mobile device that
we all find ourselves mortally attached to?
It seems to be a continuing affair, my infatuation with the "good old
days", but I must admit that I find the issue rather amusing. I'd like
to pose a question: In a world run by Facebook, myspace, e-mails, cell
phones, fax machines, text messages and voicemail, how have we, humanity
that is, found ourselves so utterly distant from each other? With
today's technology, everything and everybody are directly at our
fingertips all of the time. How, then, have we become so sequestered
What, oh World of mine, would we do if everybody's internet froze? Even
worse, what would humanity do or say if we were suddenly asked to live
without computers and online activity altogether? Would we survive?
COULD we? Could we honestly take a step back and rely on handwritten
letters, land-line telephones and telegraph wires? Or would the World as
we know it some to a screeching halt, much like that poor soul who has
forgotten or lost his cell phone? Would society crumble? Are we past the
point of no return, Friends?
I can see the panic and turmoil now...appointments would become
impossible to keep track of without handheld PDA's; phone numbers would
become obsolete without our mobile phonebooks to store them. Secluded
Internet geeks would begin to desperately plummet from their high-rise
bachelor suites, splattering themselves on the concrete ground below.
Of course, nobody would ever know of their ill-fated demise. Without
internet news pages and search engines, the public would remain totally
oblivious to the perilous fate of our World and it's people.
Scary stuff. Truly a frightening and eerie prediction.
Am I exaggerating, Friends? Am I, perhaps, being a tad harsh on the
weird technology-addicts that populate our world today? Some of them,
maybe, but anytime somebody makes a generalization as I just have, it's
bound to step on some toes. The truth is, what I have just described
could very well be an accurate portrayal, given the circumstances. The
Baby Boomers are all quietly retiring and moving on in the world, and
what does it leave us? Children who have been and who are being raised
by television and schooled over the Internet. The next wave of young
adults weren't offered coloring books or a set of Jacks to occupy their
time as kids. They were given R-Rated movies, un-edited on TV for their
pleasure. They were given profane and demeaning music to listen to.
They were given the world on a silver platter and will continue to
expect such as they age and, hopefully, mature.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I believe my generation to be the
last of a dying breed. We were raised the "old-fashioned way", which
may explain why I am so appalled by the self-destructing nature of
today's society. I see young girls being handed make-up and condoms at
age Ten, being told to "keep responsible", and all I can do is shake my
head. Who would even listen if I were to tell them that what they're
doing is WRONG?
In conclusion, do I honestly believe that the World stands any chance of
coming-to and realizing that it is plummeting head-first into the fiery
pits of Hell? Well, one can always hope.
Now you will have to excuse me. My Internet is un-frozen, and I need to
send a dozen or so e-mails and update my web page again before my cell
phone starts to ring off the hook.
What a World.