Monday, January 4, 2010

Holla Back?

I am not much interested in end of decade lists. The best film, book, science project, these I find boring and somehow too entrenched in the commercial culture to be interesting. Scanning them as they popped up in periodicals and blogs weeks before the end of 2009 my mind wandered and I gave over to reverie.

When I was young I daydreamed what the world would be like at the turn of the century. I knew that I would be alarmingly old by the year 2000 (48, which in itself staggered my imagination) but I knew that I would live to see a brand new world.

Okay, maybe I was a silly child, but I thought by this time we would have developed cities with the kinds of infrastructure that made life wonderful. The buildings would allow for sunlight, warmth, community, safety, and beauty. The old artfully created buildings would be kept up well and cared for so that new could live along with old peacefully and respectfully. I told you I was most likely a silly child.

I thought our methods of travel would be faster, cleaner, plentiful. I thought that mass transit would be the wave of the future as vehicles plodding along with one occupant could not nearly keep up with trackless, incredibly fast trains (yes, I got this idea from a film). There would even be space travel and space cities. Most of all there would be harmony. I thought that the people of Earth were going to advance so much that the need for war would no longer exist. We would live longer and better through amazing advances in medicine and we would appreciate life around us.

Today, of course we know that the one thing that has really shown a startling advance in the 21st century is communications. I don’t even have to enumerate the changes here. Maybe I am a silly adult, but I think with all the advancements we might be using them better. I am impressed with how much networking tools are used to connect people with struggles going on around the world. In Iran, we can see the news that is not allowed to be transmitted. In Myanmar we heard and saw the reality of the resistance. This I believe is important. For the most part though it appears that most of these tools are being used for not very interesting communications. Facebook sells us many things: one another, friendship (makes us friends or not) starts or ends careers, and sometimes lives.

I do not participate in these social networking systems. I did not care to be part of the Myspace community (and it appears not many do anymore) or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the new ones that I cannot keep up with. The thing is I am not sure that these tools are creating any deeper, richer, or more meaningful connections than before. However, the blog idea appealed to me because it can provide some of what I have been searching for now for some time.

What I have been looking for is the kind of discussion (sometimes outright heated arguments that included violence to cups, saucers, tables and astoundingly books(unfortunately thrown across rooms in the passion of the debate)) that I once overheard and later participated in in cafes, and coffee shops.

Obviously, not all blogs are alike, and we don’t care for or find interest in all or many of them. But they do create discussion, and I do get to see part of life that I otherwise might not. I can interact and comment and discuss. This is important for me, especially in this new century. I want to know how we are all doing, and of course for me, I want to know how the women are doing.

What is the point of this post? Not to discuss the current culture exactly, but to help me locate (there I go again) myself at 57 in this not so brave new world.

So this is a call to comment to connect, perhaps to write, here. You need to want to be naked, despite how scary that may be. This is the other compelling benefit of this new world. We can be as anonymous as we need to be and still be part of the conversation.