The older I get the more I ponder how my perceptions of the past, present, and future might have paralleled those of my predecessors. With all my might, I wish as a kid that I had found the insight to listen more closely to my parents and grandparents discuss the issues of the day. Were there conversations about climate change, global discourse, or the positive or adverse effects of technology? Obviously, climate change was not an issue back then and technology revolved around a simple calculator. But I am sure there had to be timely issues that adults debated. I only seem to remember hearing the objections to our loud music, long hair, and short skirts.
I do vividly remember the announcement of President Kennedy's assassination over the loudspeaker in my elementary classroom and watching Neal Armstrong, on my family's only television, declare a giant leap for mankind when he stepped on the moon. Yet, I do not remember talking about it in detail with my parents. I can only think that parenting was just very different back then. Maybe, just maybe, my parents felt they needed to protect us from fearful discussions about larger-than-life issues. Perhaps they equated emotional response with weakness and were very reluctant to voice their reaction.
Today, technology gives people of all ages access to whatever they want to know whenever they want to know it. When was the last time you visited a public library? Technology has eliminated the communal adventure of data discovery. Sadly, while it might accelerate a learning curve it has diabolically altered the way we interact and communicate with each other. We are becoming informational robots and sequestered gamers. We hardly chat via phone anymore, we just text or occasionally video-call. I wonder what my parents would think? Although having spent hours and hours on the telephone as a teenager, I would imagine my parents would have joyously reveled in having access to the home phone again. But I digress...
So, if the power grid goes down tomorrow, I genuinely question how many of us could evolve without the immediate response of technology? My dad made me uniquely aware that I am the only architect of my future. There is no reset button, no reboot option. Could we survive if we had to cook everything over an open flame rather than turn on the stove, plug in the air fryer, or push a button on the microwave? You have to remember our refrigerators and freezers are going to fail as well. No fast food? What's your next option?
Okay, so I am definitely not a doomsday prophet but let's go one step further. Think about what all of civilization loses without access to the power grid. Gas pumps are down, ATMs are useless, and retail outlets are out of luck. Yes, some corporations will have generators, but how long will the fuel last or even be available? It takes power to generate fuel products. Your WIFI is out but it really doesn't matter as cell towers will only last as long as their alternative power sources do. Worst part? I am only touching the tip of the iceberg. It will be a Titanic moment.
Now, I confess without shame that this spoiled little lady would have been an abominable pioneer. Yet, there is much to be said about getting back to basics. Put your phone down. Turn off the television. Limit video games. Plan a nutritious meal without the help of technology. Pick up a book and read, alone or to each other. Unearth a new appreciation for what technology provides before we forget how to survive without it. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.