Way back before there were cellphones, computers, iPods, compact discs, home theaters and social media, people like me had some kind of order in our lives. When I say I’m going to meet somebody at a particular time, day and place, I confirm that date to at least a day before via a landline phone. Then, I watched movies in movie houses or movie theaters, and looked forward to trailers before the main screening. When we wanted to listen to music we had a record player for our vinyl records. We had a stereo if we wanted our music to sound better. We then had a deck tape as well which we used to record our music of choice if we wanted to. Then came the tape reorder which had either the 8-track or cassette tape, still for recording our music. When we wanted to say something to our friends , we talked to them either personally, by phone or by snail mail. I remember that we had fancy stationeries then, some of which were even scented. Or, if we wanted to say something about a public figure, we did it through the newspaper or magazine. We’d be lucky if our opinions ever get enough attention to get published. What all these amounted to was in those days, for things to happen it took time. But no matter because then it helped build character. It also instilled self-control/discipline. Further, there’s this attitude not only for me but practically almost all people during my time, that we anticipate the effects of our actions, somehow having a plan b, or even a plan c if things didn’t go the way we thought they would or wanted to happen.
What is this all leading to? Well, I think a generation ago when things such as the above gadgets, appliances or mode of interpersonal relationships via i.e. Facebook and Twitter, weren’t invented yet, people were more considerate and more patient about almost everything. There weren’t any earphones stuck in our ears and so we didn’t bump into each other when walking the streets. We didn’t have cellphones that distracted our driving. There was much appreciation of movies like a standing ovation and applause when Rocky Balboa finally beat Apollo in Rocky 2. Also, we tried not to make the inane and mundane rule our lives. These were just some kind of stress reliever. However, now there seems to be much attention given for example with a TV personality who got robbed and talked much about or even written about. Almost everybody and their sister had to say her piece about this in Twitter, and there’s all sorts of real time reactions from people from all places. Quite amazing, really. I guess our world then individually was too small and that we concerned ourselves with our and not others’present life and how it could affect our future. There was always this exercise in schools like, “When I grow up, I like to be…”. There was that focus and determination and most of all hope that our future would be better; that we would live our dreams, plans.
Yes, that did happen for me at least. However, as I’ve said the gadgets really made a big difference. Things are a lot t easier, supposedly. You just hit the keys on your smartphone, iPad or computer and you can express your ideas either publicly or privately depending on your preferences. I seldom watch movies in the movie theaters anymore. I just wait a few months and I can watch the movies in the comfort of my home. But I really miss substantial reading materials – those that I can leaf through page by page, not on a computer but an actual book.
Gone were the days when students have to extend their school hours to go to the library and do some actual research, leafing through reading materials. Those were the days. Now classmates meet, divide themselves into groups, divide the research into chapters and do their research via Google and other search engines. That’s one modern method I particularly know. Easier, yes, it seems. Substantial? Well, I have to qualify that…
Probably the most thought-provoking practice I’m observing is this very reactive responses to almost any news item that comes up. News travels fast these days via social media mostly, and it is always accompanied by comments and replies to comments. If you have sensitive feelings, you will react to these reactions you received; thus, a cycle has begun. Vicious? It depends.
When a politician says his government would be aligning with communist countries and cut ties with the former champion of democracy, this issue got a lot of reactions worldwide. I can’t blame everyone though as it seemed a little drastic. Commenting on this – no reply necessary though, let’s give this leader a chance to prove himself. He’s newly installed and not yet half a year in his elective position. I was told that a year is too short a time to adjust to changes – that’s nationally. Give it perhaps 2 years and allow the leader to carry out the reforms he promised his people. We may react but let’s be proactive rather than reactive. Let’s see if he can move his country forward in the next year or two with his promised commitments and changes.
Going back to that TV reality show actress who got robbed in her apartment abroad and had all her precious jewelry taken at gunpoint. That also got much reaction. What’s up with that? There are more pressing issues than this one. The damage brought on by the typhoon Matthew needs some attention. People in Haiti need help … let’s react so they can recover. The irredenta problem in Asia where Vietnam, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia versus China over the scattered islands in the South China Sea is another issue to talk about and to try to resolve.
But of course, people are more concerned about the latest gadgets, the coolest places to be seen, who are exchanging heated words in Twitter, who’s got the most number of views in YouTube. Tell me… are we escaping from something that we prefer trivial to significant matters. I guess that needs to be qualified.
Now I wonder what the future would be like. Sure hope I could still cope with it.