By Mike Lander on
An undeniable conclusion from a study of history is that scientific advancement cannot be stopped. It would be foolish to argue that the technological advances made in recent decades have not been worth the effort, but as we age we tend to somewhat long for the good old days. I am a product of the old world and the new. We need to remember that the new technology which surrounds all of us is no more than a tool to help us live more productive lives. It can never replace personal contacts.
In speaking with my contemporaries I think it is fair to say that we are struck by the way in which the younger generations are obsessed with communicating with each other through texting and the use of instant messaging (IM). In the workplace we find workers sequestered in cubicles communicating with each other through the company’s IM service. Stop into any doctor’s office and notice how many patients waiting for their turn pull out their cell phone to text. People driving vehicles are texting. People just walking around are texting. I can foresee that 10,000 years from now if we are all still around, humans will have developed oversized thumbs from all of this texting. We will probably have lost the ability of speech as Near Field Communication (NFC) will be used as a form of telepathy between humans. Maybe we will just have to put our heads together (no pun intended) in the future. Perhaps we can just put our cell phones next to our heads to communicate. No need to actually speak anymore. Glad I will not be around to witness this new world.
In losing the desire to actually speak with another individual we are losing something very precious in my opinion, our humanity. This is the way you learn things, from oral stories passed on from generation to generation. As a veteran, I meet other veterans who are total strangers to me almost daily. Each one has his story to tell. One story is more amazing than the next. As veterans, we confide in each other because we share this common bond. No amount of texting or research on the internet can replace this human contact.
This essay includes two photos of families enjoying an outdoor picnic, one in Kansas in 1917 the other during the Great Depression in Missouri during 1933. Of course, people sill enjoy picnics today. Visit any state park during good weather on any weekend and you will see families having a barbeque. Everyone will be having a good time. Let us not forget our roots. The family is the basic unit of all societies. We must communicate with each other on a verbal basis. This is how we learn things. It makes us human. Enjoy the new technology in ways which do not dehumanize us.