Thursday, February 26, 2015

"This, too...."

One of the wonders of being human is that while we, among all living creatures on earth, are aware of the concepts of future and past, stretching out endlessly before and behind us, we must walk between the two on the infinitely thin tightrope of "now"...the present.

Impatience is also ingrained in our species, and we too frequently ignore our past in our hurry to get to the future. To speed up that which cannot be hurried, we have created technology, which we intended to serve us but which increasingly controls us. And as technology encroaches upon our humanity, we become more and more frustrated―and from frustration comes anger, both personal and societal. 

Societal frustration shows itself in infinite ways, both broadly as in wars and acts of terrorism, and so subtle that few are aware of them. “Popular” music is a prime example; up into the latter half of the 20th century, song lyrics told stories. Some were sad, of course, but very, very few of them could be said to be angry: fewer still espoused hatred or literally seethed with anger.

This anger increasingly permeates our entire society, like water permeates a sponge. What has happened? What has changed us? Why is everyone so angry? Why am I so angry so much of the time?

The answer is as simple as it is depressing: the less control we see as having over our own lives, the more helpless we feel, the more frustrated we become, and frustration shows itself most clearly through anger. Every time we pick up the phone to try to talk to a human being who might actually give a damn about us or our problem at some behemoth, faceless corporation we are reminded in no uncertain terms just how little power we really have over even something so simple as a phone call. And who, after sitting there holding the receiver listening to 10,000 blatant and insultingly condescending repetitions ("Your call is very important to us"/"Due to unexpectedly heavy traffic"/"Please stay on the line and your call will be answered by the next available representative" ) does not get the clear message, "We don't know who you are, we don't care who you are, we don't care about your pathetic little problems. All we want from you is your money."

It's difficult―nearly impossible, at times―not to despair. Our government is at a standstill. Those whose job it supposedly is to govern our democracy instead devote their energies to throwing roadblocks in front of any idea, no matter how logical and potentially beneficial, proposed by the opposition. It is nearly impossible to know what those running for election or re-election will do if elected, or how they will go about doing it. Their primary aim is to viciously attack their opponents.

Standing apart from ourselves―not easy to do―can provide a unique insight into the relativity of things. What do so many of the things we become frustrated about really mean, at base, to our lives? In retrospect, being put on hold for 45 minutes is infuriatingly frustrating, but, really, what difference does it make in the larger picture of our day to day life? Well, the answer to that is, again, that we pass through time from one nanosecond to the other, and while we're enduring those infuriating on-hold waits or struggling through the myriads of individual problems which beset us all, there is no way to escape or avoid them. 

Ten years in the past is as close as yesterday afternoon. Ten years in the future might as well be eternity.

Unhappiness with our current situation is just part of life. Gloom and doom are common themes throughout history. All evidence to the contrary, I'd like to think that this is just another segment of the history-long “phase” we're going through. Despite all the our ranting and raving and despair for the future, perhaps the single most fascinating and positive thing about human existence is that we persevere. We still hope. We still, somewhere under all that frustration and anger and discouragement, cling to the belief that things will get better. There is, somewhere in the depths of our soul, the awareness that no matter how bad things may be at any given minute, "this, too, shall pass." It is our salvation.


Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

What bothers me, D, is this illusion of privacy we have. Our text message are being read, our phone calls are being listened and/or recorded to be heard later, and while people online may not always know who we are, advertisers do.

We buy computers or laptops because we're authors, then read an article about a school district who gave all their students laptops, only it was discovered employees at the school were able to access those same laptops remotely and use the camera to peek into what was going on wherever the student was.

I have a friend who puts tape over the camera on her laptop and while I thought it was mildly paranoid at first, I've started doing it, too. Hackers can do the same thing and peek in at us.

Now we have Smart TVs, because they make life easier for us. Only Smart TVs, which respond to voice commands, are transmitting what people say to a third party. GONE is your privacy.

The price of making our lives easier isn't worth it when they invade our homes just so they can sell you something.

Businesses and even the government have become the ultimate stalkers. And it doesn't quite so paranoid anymore when someone says it.