Change is inevitable, but so is resistance
Special to Stars and Stripes August 18, 2023
At the risk of sounding like an old bag, I must say: The world is completely different than it was when I was a kid.
I know, I know, that isn’t exactly a shocking revelation. Pretty much every generation has been saying that since the Earth cooled. Still, I can’t help but be alarmed at how drastically life has changed in the past 40 years, thanks to the veritable tidal wave of technology that has swept over the world since 1983.
Anyone like me, who grew up before the global network referred to as the “internet” came along, was accustomed to living simply, without instant 24/7 information and connectivity. When we wanted information, we looked it up in books or asked others. Even after telecommunication was introduced — first with the telegraph in 1837 and then the telephone in 1876 — it still took considerable time and effort to send and receive information.
Then, quite suddenly, we were connected to everyone else in the world with the touch of a button. With the advent of the internet, the human race was suddenly flooded with a deluge of constant information, as everything from research to socializing, from bill-paying to shopping, from watching movies to communicating became instantaneous.
I’ll admit that I take advantage of the incredible benefits of the Digital Age every day, but it still scares me a little. As a military spouse, I have been thankful for modern advancements that have made deployments and frequent moving so much easier, such as emails, videoconferencing and remote work; as well as new technologies making service members’ jobs safer and missions more successful such as robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, directed energy, hypersonics and biotechnology.
However, I find it frightening that something we can’t even see has so rapidly changed life as we know it, forever. Information and communications have become instantly accessible, flooding our previously manageable lives and drowning the built-in protections we once had. Previously, we had to wait for the six o’clock news or the morning paper to find out what was going on in the world. Back then, home used to be the safe place kids were sheltered from social pressures and bad influences. Forty years ago, there was no need to go “off the grid” to disconnect, because the grid didn’t even exist.
Nowadays, humans must make a conscious effort to shield themselves from the constant barrage of uncensored news, information, politics, chatter, advertisements, social media, messages, jargon, video games, algorithms, imagery, videos and e-commerce — every minute of every day. Will we be forever trapped in this rapid-paced hamster wheel, never to enjoy the simplicity of our pre-Internet lives again?
Alas, my opinions are aging me.
My father voiced similar concerns in my youth, such as, “When I was a teenager, we had Elvis, not this gibberish you kids have on that moronic MTV.” And his father probably said to him, “Hey lazybones, back in the 1930s, we walked uphill to and from school every day.” Abraham Lincoln likely told his son, Tad, “Two score and seven years ago, we had more respect for our elders.” Ann Boleyn probably admonished Elizabeth I, “Young lady, when I was your age, we listened to the lute, not that awful harpsichord you insist on dancing to in court these days.” And Genghis Khan might’ve told his son, Chagatai Khan, “You pipsqueaks have no common sense! When I was a teenager, my father was poisoned and I was forced into slavery, but I still had the gumption to escape, kill my half-brother, amass a brutal army, conquer Mongolia and become one of the most influential barbarians in history!”
Heck, Adam probably sat his and Eve’s 33 sons and 23 daughters down and scolded, “When your mother and I grew up 900 years ago, we wore bigger fig leaves than you whippersnappers do today. Good Lord, have some decency!”
Despite my old-fashioned views on this newfangled world, I must accept that I can’t go back to 1980. Darwin foiled my plans when he said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Read more at themeatandpotatoesoflife.com and in Lisa’s book, “The Meat and Potatoes of Life: My True Lit Com.” Email: email@example.com